Booster groups in Peters told to update bylaws by May 30

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Booster clubs in Peters Township School District could soon find themselves without practice facilities if members don't approve changes requested by the school board two years ago.

Board members said they were tired of waiting for booster clubs — typically made up of parents who fundraise for an organization, sport or school activity — to implement changes to their bylaws.

The board two years ago asked the dozens of booster groups to update their bylaws to reflect changes in policy and state law, but at least eight of the booster groups haven't updated their bylaws.

After lengthy discussion, the board voted 6-3 to require the groups to forward their changes to the school board before May 30 or risk losing district space for practice facilities beginning in the 2014-15 school year.

Some members said they felt the end of May was too soon, but the majority disagreed.  Board members Lisa Anderson, Rebecca Bowman, Thomas McMurray, Sandra Gregg, William Merrell and Jamison Hardy voted in favor of the May deadline, while Ronald Dunleavy, Sue Smith and Lynn Erenberg dissented.

Saying they want more public transparency during board meetings, members on Monday also unrolled a new public comment feature, allowing comments after each committee report and before each committee vote.  A few members of the public took advantage Monday, and the board said it would consider whether to make the feature a permanent part of board meetings soon.

The board has expanded transparency in other ways since a new majority was installed this year, including making available bids, documents and budget worksheets.

The board's finance committee is expected to begin tackling next year's budget during a 6:30 p.m. May 15 meeting in district administration offices.  

The board passed a $56.97 million preliminary budget in January that calls for a 5.142-mill tax increase.  The proposed increase is above the index limit set by the state Department of Education, which would have limited the district to a 2.1 percent tax increase — equivalent to about 2.14 mills.  The board sought and received exceptions from the department that would allow a higher increase due to rising retirement and special education costs.

The final budget must be passed by June 30 and could differ significantly from the proposed spending plan, though a potential tax increase won't be higher than the proposed hike.

Also Monday, the board:

• Approved a settlement agreement to end an age and sex discrimination lawsuit brought against the district in 2010 by a group of 12 female teachers, who alleged in federal court that the district hired younger teachers with less experience at a higher pay scale.

  The terms of the settlement will remain private until it is signed by the other parties.  District solicitor Jack Cambest said details of the agreement were still being ironed out and that it would be available for public inspection once the agreement is finalized.

 • Approved nine teacher retirements and four nonteaching retirements effective at the end of the school year.

 • Awarded four contracts:  $197,820 for three new school buses from Wolfington; $16,675 for 15 new and replacement bus cameras from SEON Mobile Surveillance; $37,473 for a lawn care contract with Sugarwood Landscaping; and $35,000 for a masonry project at McMurray Elementary School from Mariani & Richards Inc.  The project will be started at the end of the school year and will involve repointing and replacing brick on the building and roof. 

Janice Crompton: or 412-263-1159.

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