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GASD moves toward a balanced budget; plans HVAC upgrade at James Getty

The Gettysburg Area School District Board of Directors has approved an engineering study for HVAC reconstruction and a new 100 sq ft. ADA compliant bathroom at James Getty Elementary School. The cost of the 100 square foot bathroom is expected to be $62,000, leading board director Tim Seigman to say the cost seemed too high. “I think $600 per square foot is out of line. I don’t see it costing that much,” he said.

District Superintendent Jason Perrin said the district was hoping to move toward a more effective and efficient budget process with a balanced budget. But he said it was a difficult process putting a budget together and that a priority was a budget that preserves the district’s excellent AA bond rating. Perrin said it would take several years to create a parity between revenues and expenditures but noted expenses had not increased since the 2016-2017 budget year.

Business Manager Belinda Wallen said it was difficult to plan a budget given the number of unknown variables including expected income from taxes given uncertainty in employment numbers. But she said, there was more employment growth than expected.

Wallen said state revenue was flat and was unlikely to increase more than 2 percent per year.

Charter brick and mortar and cyber costs have increased for the district, as have special education services, healthcare, and construction costs. “We’re having a hard time getting products in,” said Wallen.

She said substitute teachers are hard to find resulting in additional costs.

“Our goal is that overall our revenues equal our expenditures. But the last thing we want to do is to increase class sizes and have reduction in services,” said Wallen.

Wallen said there had been about a 2 percent difference between growth and revenue. To meet the parity goal she said the district would need to consider its fund balance.

Other Business

Perrin and Board Director AmyBeth Hodges said it was important the new directors who were elected on Tuesday be on-boarded with budget and other information so they were ready to get started next year. The district will schedule meetings for this process.

Board Director Carrie Adams Soliday said the Adams County Technical Institute was planning to partner with the Adams County Habitat for Humanity on a project in which the tech students would build houses for needy residents. “It’s a pretty cool venture,” she said.

Assistant Superintendent Christine Lay said district was conducting a school climate survey for students, staff, and families and was hoping for an 80 percent response rate.

Perrin said only one in-class snow day scheduled was scheduled this winter and that if there were more needed they would become remote learning days.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Nov 15.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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