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B-A School Board recommends not raising taxes

BELLWOOD — Bellwood-Antis School District Superintendent Thomas McInroy has good news for district taxpayers.

“It will be our recommendation not to raise taxes for the next year. We are doing well,” McInroy said at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

In December, board members approved a resolution to certify that the district would not increase any school district tax for the 2018-19 school year at a rate that exceeds the index of 3.4 percent as calculated by the state Department of Education.

Kimberly VanGorder, business manager and board secretary, said that meant the highest the board could increase taxes would be 0.31 mills.

Board members Tuesday received their annual audit report Tuesday from Young, Oakes, Brown and Co.

“We had a clean audit,” VanGorder said.

This would mark the second consecutive year for board members to hold the line on taxes after increasing the real estate tax in 11 of the previous 12 years.

“Now that our audit has no findings, we feel we can do it with the existing money that we have. When I came here, I made a promise to leave no stone unturned. The administration and staff have been very good at being responsible. We have streamlined how we do business and how we manage our resources,” said McInroy, who arrived at Bellwood-Antis in October 2014.

Meanwhile, board members voted to terminate Elizabeth Walk, who had served as a custodian in the district since September 2006. Earlier in the meeting, board members voted not to approve a request for an extension of her sick leave through March 1.

McInroy said it was not an easy decision.

“She was off longer than she was able to be. She did nothing wrong as far as her actions. Within the contract, there is time for people to be off. We treated her the way we would want to be treated if faced with such a circumstance. It came to the time we needed to do something to be fair to the other employees and to the students. It is unfortunate,” McInroy said.

At different times, Walk had served as both president and vice president of Service Employees International Union Local 32 BJ District 1201, which represents the district’s support staff. SEIU Local 323 communications specialist Tracy Benjamin said she could not comment on personnel issues.

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