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HASD teachers set to retire

Board also talks debt service, roof

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The Hollidaysburg Area School Board on Wednesday approved several planned personnel changes including the retirement dates for two longtime teachers.

Junior high school teacher Jim Murphy is set to retire at the end of the school year, capping 36 years at the district, and senior high school teacher Rick Imler is also retiring at the end of this year, completing 27 years of teaching at the district.

The board also awarded a bid Wednesday for the replacement of the Foot of Ten Elementary School roof to Wohler Construction Inc. of Duncansville at a base bid of $407,000.

And as the school district begins to prepare a budget for next school year, it is continuing an effort to be transparent about all aspects of the complex budget.

The state requires schools to adopt a budget by June 30. At each regular meeting until that deadline, business manager Susan Baker is scheduled to present information on a specific segment of the budget for the public and the board.

On Wednesday, Baker gave a presentation about debt service, which is about

$4 million annually or about

8 percent of the annual budget–which in 2019 was $51 million.

Debt service comes from general obligation bonds, which can be thought of as loans that investors make to local governments. The school district sells the bonds, and the investors from the public buy them with interest to gain. That’s how the district gets money to pay for large projects, for example, construction projects.

The district’s current outstanding debt is $35 million; each year the district pays about $4 million for debt service. The district is on schedule to be debt free in the 2029-30 school year, if the district does not incur any further debt, Baker said.

Some of that debt is for projects as old as the construction of Charles W. Longer Elementary school in the 1980s.

“Why are we still paying on C.W. Longer?” said first-term board member Doug Stephens.

That preceded Baker’s time at the school district, but she said that due to high interest rates during some of those years, it probably wasn’t a favorable climate to pay off the bond issue. In addition, the district was paying to build Foot of Ten and Fransktown elementary schools at that time. Baker said although it hasn’t been paid off, there have been savings realized on the bond issue for Longer because the past boards and administrations have refinanced it.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.

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