The Abington School Board adopted its 2011-2012 school year budget and honored members of the community at Tuesday night’s meeting.
The board passed a zero percent millage tax increase for residents. School board members attributed the ability to maintain the millage rates to the districtwide pay freeze.
Two budgets were approved at the meeting, each dependent on how much funding the district would receive from the state. In the event that the district receives more funding from the state than it originally allotted for in its budget, the additional funding will go into the district’s fund balance—the only difference between the two budgets.
The additional budget comes after a bill was recently introduced into the Senate that would give the district an addition $1.2 million, said Superintendent Amy Sichel.
School board member Barry Stupine pointed out that this would still be a $1.6 million decrease from past state funds.
The district is losing close to 15 positions through attrition from all departments except transportation. Sichel said this is done every year, but was completed on a greater scale this year.
“None of these will change the education program at all,” Sichel said, adding that this is possible due to consolidating and combining the duties of those vacated positions.
The school board also took time at the beginning of the meeting to recognize Donald Clark, who recently died. Clark was instrumental in helping to create the school’s African-American Infusion program, Sichel said.
“He was always there to make sure we did the right thing for all students,” Sichel said.
Clark helped the district put together lesson plans on African-American history to be infused in the schools’ current curriculum, Sichel said. Now, the district is putting all of the lessons onto computers and making them more interactive for students.
The board gave a demonstration of a lesson plan and explained that each time a lesson is opened, the second slide will have information about Clark and his work and achievements.
Sichel also announced that the district would like to include a lesson about Clark for the fourth-grade students as part of their yearly curriculum.
“No greater individual deserves this more than Don Clark,” Sichel said.
The board also congratulated the members of Abington Senior High School’s girls track team for their victories at nationals, including Leah Nugent, who is now first in the nation for 400-meter hurdles.
At the end of the two-hour meeting, Stupine asked to create a resolution commending the administration and staff for their hard work in creating the budget. The board approved the resolution and thanked all of the staff present at the meeting, commending them for a job well done on the budget.
“That’s not happening everywhere in the state—it’s not even happening with our neighbors,” School Board President Raymond McGarry said.