CVSD approves tax increase for 2022-23 and celebrates students

The Conewago Valley school board approved its final Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget during its meeting on Monday evening, passing a tax increase along with the budget.

The $72,220,492 budget includes a 4.6% increase in real estate taxes, with the millage rate moving from 14.1993 to 14.8524. The 4.6 percent is the maximum allowed under the state’s Act 1 limitations.

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Other taxes will remain unchanged, according to page 12 of the final budget. The earned income tax rate will stay at 1% and a 0.5% realty transfer tax will also remain the same.

A $5 per capita tax under school code Section 679, a $5 per capita tax under Act 511 and a 5% amusement tax were also left untouched, according to the budget document.

The board also approved pricing cafeteria lunches at $2.50 for the elementary and intermediate schools and $2.75 for secondary schools. The price for milk was set at 50 cents. Breakfast for students at all school levels will be priced at $1.50.

While the board unanimously approved other finance items on the agenda, including the cafeteria prices, board members Patricia Klunk Gouker and Tara Bolton voted against adopting the budget with the tax increase.

During the time for public comment, one individual said they were frustrated with the process to receive a copy of the proposed budget ahead of the meeting. The woman said she was unable to receive an emailed copy from the district until hours before the meeting.

The woman said business manager Lori Duncan notified her that she’d received the Right to Know request for the budget on June 7 and requested an extension of 30 days, which the woman said she did not agree to. The budget was emailed to her today and posted to the district website.

“I personally respect you all… But I question your ethics,” the woman said. “I question your lack of transparency.”

Board solicitor Brooke Say said copies of the budget were available for pubic review and that the district had followed the law. Say added that Duncan did not have to ask for a 30-day extension and did not need to fill the request immediately, asking for the days only as a “courtesy.”

Wrapping up the school year

Matthew Muller, principal of New Oxford Middle School, provided a combined building report for the schools.

This month, he used a unique format, showing the board photos from the schools with captions explaining the photos. Each school building contributed photos from May for the presentation.

“You folks are busy,” Muller said. “A lot of times you don’t get to see some of those kinds of things and if it’s not on social media, you may not know about it.”

View the video report.

Board President Edward Groft said he enjoyed the visual report.

“That is new, and it does give us a little better scope of everything going on because there are a lot of thing that we do not or are not able to attend,” Groft said.

Dr. Robert Walker, who recently started as the assistant superintendent, said he appreciates the district and community and has felt welcomed since his first day.

“First of all, I want to say thank you to the faculty and staff here and the parents that have been in, Walker said. “It has been just an absolutely warm and kind, heartfelt welcome. I felt, even after my first day, I said, ‘I felt like I’d worked here my entire life and I’d just met these people.’”

Walker said he’s eager to assist with developing plans for the district next month.

Superintendent Sharon Perry said she was glad Walker joined the staff.

“His enthusiasm is contagious and infectious,” Perry said.

Perry said planning is going well for the next school year. She said she is “super proud” that professional development for next school year is nearly fully planned.

“It was a momentous feat to think about all of the things that we’re focusing within our district, mobilizing that towards the future and coming up with a plan towards that,” Perry said.

She pointed to the building report Muller had shared as showing their motivation for intensive long-term planning.

“The one thing that really stands out to me, and it can’t be missed, is that every single highlight had a child in that picture,” Perry said. “And that truly is the focus of our district. We are all here because of the children within in our school community and it’s truly a testament to how we work together as a team that that is our focal point. And that’s why we do all of this planning together is to give them the very best opportunities that we can.”

Perry said the district has developed priorities to focus on for its comprehensive planning.

“We want to focus on fiscal health and mental health,” Perry said. “They came out as the key focus area. Student engagement is part and parcel to that. It’s not just for our students. It’s for our adults also. So it’s for our faculty, it’s for our staff, it’s for our administration, (and) it’s also for parents and our community that we want to be and serve that support in that area. Our professional learning, our curriculum and instruction and assessment is about that.”

Perry said the administration is “learning about trauma-informed care” and looks forward to beginning a new school year.

“I couldn’t be more proud as the superintendent in what is a rather tough year of ups and downs I believe for all,” Perry said. “But we’re coming out now, I think, on the other side from the challenges COVID has brought to us and our community and I look forward to having a wonderful year next year.”

Groft agreed.

“It was a good year,” he said. “It started out a little rough and it ended up as good as I felt we could be.”

He also said the district’s recent graduation ceremony was a success.

“I will tell you, there was as many tears as there was smiles at graduation,” Groft said. “We had some excellent speakers and they did bring the kids to some tears. It was a pretty neat evening.”


The board recognized several students:

  • Hunter Crabbs was named as the New Oxford High School Rotary Student of the Month in May
  •  Hailey Linebaugh was noted for being named the Athlete of the Week by the Gettysburg Times during the week of May 9. Linebaugh was one of five students initially nominated for the honor.
  •  Jon Makowski, an English and journalism instructor at New Oxford High School, was recognized for being named the 2022 Teacher Impact Award honoree.

Several students were also recognized for receiving college acceptances and scholarships.

The board held executive sessions before and after the open session.

There will be no monthly meeting in July.

The board will hold its next study session at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1 and will hold a regular board meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8.

Both meetings will be held in the district office. Meetings are also livestreamed on the district’s YouTube channel.

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Imari Scarbrough is a freelance journalist. She was a staff newspaper reporter for five years before becoming a freelancer in 2017. She has written on crime, environmental issues, severe weather events, local and regional government and more.

You can visit her website at

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