Elementary schools could close and Pay-to-Play extra-curricular activities could become reality as the Altoona Area School Board considers financing alternatives.
Board members Tim Lucas, Ryan Beers and Margaret Hendricks were part of an ad-hoc financial committee with local business owners Alex Seltzer, Dennis Doll and William Thompson Jr. that came up with alternative funding ideas for the school district.
The group held four meetings in January and February, Lucas said, during the school board meeting Monday evening.
"None of these things are going to be popular," he said.
The group recommended such strategies as implementing Pay-to-Play for extra-curricular activities and closing elementary schools.
Superintendent Dennis Murray said elementary schools will probably end up closing.
The board voted to hire two acting elementary principals - Melissa O'Brien and Haley Fleegle - effective July 1 at salaries of $72,800 and $70,000, respectively.
Murray said three principals are retiring, but it has not been decided what schools the women will oversee. A principal is going to oversee two schools to make up for the third retirement, but which ones has yet to be decided, he said.
Resident Cheryl Rupp asked the board about a $6 million transfer that occurred during a December meeting.
Murray said the money was earmarked for a high school renovation project that is just getting underway. The district hired engineers at its last board meeting, and the renovations could take some time, but the school is in relatively "good shape," so it didn't need a complete overhaul, which the school could not afford, Murray said.
Resident Sharon Bream wanted to know why the junior high was built much bigger than its current student population.
President James Walstrom said the school will probably end up becoming a middle school at some point and more students will move into the facility.
The district is also offering a second round of retirement incentives to get people at the top of the pay scale out and those at the bottom in, Murray said.
Those intending to retire have until March 31 to opt in.
"We're looking everywhere," he said of where the district can make cuts or bring in funding.
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Clegg is at 949-7030.