At Gettysburg Area School District’ annual reorganization meeting last evening, President Kenneth Hassinger was re-elected as Board President for 2023 and Mike Dickerson was elected Vice President. Both votes were split with 8 members in favor and Amy Beth Hodges voting against.
The board agreed to comply with state and federal laws, designated the Gettysburg Times as the newspaper of record, and named Dr. Leigh E. Dalton, Stock and Leader, Attorneys at Law, as legal counsel with an hourly rate of $215.
In the regular business meeting, Superintendent Jason Perrin introduced newly appointed Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Dr. Jeffrey Matzner. Matzner is currently a middle school principal in Dauphin County and won’t be available to start until February. Perrin announced that retiring assistant superintendent Dr. Christina Lay has agreed to delay her retirement until Matzner is on board.
State representative Dan Moul appeared during the public comment period to address questions Hassinger had raised at the previous meeting concerning the status of talks in Harrisburg about the budget and charter schools. Moul pointed out that he isn’t on the Education Committee but that he had checked with his colleagues.
Regarding the budget, he acknowledged that budget timelines made it difficult for boards to make their decisions. “I know you have to do your budget before you get ours,” he said. Moul recommended the board plan on the same level of state funding as last year and perhaps an additional 1 or 2 percent.
Regarding Charter Schools, Moul said he too shares a concern about the revenue loss from virtual schools. He said the Education Committee chair told him they had received no cooperation either from the state or the charters schools on the issue.
“My caucus is starting to lean more and more toward school choice,” said Moul. Moul noted the number of chronically failing public schools, primarily in urban areas. “If you have a family that can’t afford private school, how can you tell them they must continue to attend this failing school?,” he asked.
Moul said another reason to promote school choice is that parents may not like the school curriculum.
Moul raised an additional issue regarding the repeated purchases of Adams County land by the American Battlefield Trust (ABT) and other organizations in which the purchased land is then donated to the National Park System.
“Each of these takes land off the tax base,” he said, “and that can be a big revenue loss to you,” he said.
Moul said he would request that future purchasers of property to be taken off the tax rolls escrow an amount equivalent to all taxes that would be paid over a 20-year period.
The board also approved the parental involvement plan and accepted a donation of books for each elementary school library from Moms for Liberty.
Leon Reed, freelance reporter, is a former US Senate staff member, defense consultant, and history teacher. He is a seven year resident of Gettysburg, where he writes military history and explores the park and the Adams County countryside. He is the publisher at Little Falls Books, chaired the Adams County 2020 Census Complete Count Committee and is on the board of SCCAP and the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. He and his wife, Lois, have 3 children, 3 cats, and 5 grandchildren.