Boone appoints acting interim superintendent

The Daniel Boone School Board unanimously approved Monday night the appointment of Dr. Patricia B. Sanker as acting interim superintendent effective Dec. 2 through Dec. 20, and then as interim superintendent until only June 30, 2014, when the board will need to appoint a permanent superintendent.

Superintendent Dr. Gary L. Otto’s retirement is effective Dec. 20, after serving six years with the school district.

Sanker was superintendent of the South Middleton School District, Boiling Springs, for 13 years before retiring in June.

The motion to appoint states that the district’s inability to permanently fill the superintendent and the business manager positions has resulted in an emergency situation that has led to the need for an acting interim and interim appointment.

Assistant Business Manager Mark Boyer has served as interim since Danielle Penza’s resignation in June.

Outgoing board member Frank Cerminaro said Boyer has done a lot to eliminate waste and save the district money for 2014-15 by finding and eliminating departmental contingency funds.

“Boyer has been a good asset to the school district,” said Cerminaro.

Sanker, who resides in Mechanicsburg, will work four days a week, at $750 per full day worked, with no benefits or expense reimbursement.

“The board was very impressed with her qualifications and looks forward to working with her,” said Board President Andrew Basile.

Otto said he is also very pleased with her qualifications.

“She has worked longer as a superintendent than I have, and she will bring a steady hand to the school district at a time when it needs one,” said Otto.

Outgoing board member Scott Potts agreed with the favorable comments for Sanker and added that it will be a good transition.

Another outgoing board member, Walter P. Sheehan, said the district will also save some money with the reduced superintendent salary.

Sanker’s daily salary of $750 is less than Otto’s $800 a day with healthcare and retirement benefits, which Sanker will not receive.

The board recognized its four outgoing board members:

Sheehan, who represented Amity Township, and served two, four year terms beginning on Dec. 1, 2005; Potts, Amity Township, and Cerminao, Union Township, who both served one, four year term beginning on Dec. 1, 2009, and Michel D. Wolfe, who served one, two year term, beginning on Dec. 1, 2011.

“You’ve added so much to this school district, more than people can imagine,” said Otto. “Considering the financial climate, it’s a better place because of you four people.”

Sheehan advised the board (with four new board members) to constantly re-examine the budget numbers -- particularly the fund balance -- before curtailing kindergarten, any other programs, or raising taxes.

The district’s 2014-15 budget deficit is $3.6 million.

District administration has recommended $2.8 million of expenditure cuts that includes elementary band, half-day kindergarten, sports, extracurriculars, and 17 professional staff.

Otto said Nov. 13 during the Finance Committee meeting that the goal is to reduce the $55.6 million budget by $2.8 million, generate $782,000 of revenue from a 2.8 percent tax increase to the index (.81 mills), and balance the budget with the use of the current unassigned $1.8 million fund balance money.

“Use as much fund balance [money] as possible,” said Sheehan, “or house values will really go down [without programs such as kindergarten].”

“Hopefully some mutual agreement can be reached, because it really is about the kids,” said Potts.

Boyer said the district’s fund balance is now just below five percent of its budget.

He said the district’s policy is to have no less than one percent, but that is “not very healthy.”

The board’s Reorganization Meeting has been changed from Dec. 3 to Dec. 2.

Basile said five of the board’s nine members had conflicts on Dec. 3.

Tom Schadt, Birdsboro, who has regularly attended board meetings for the last decade, thanked Sheehan, Cerminaro, Potts, Wolfe, and Kevin F. McCullough, who resigned in May, for serving on the board.

“You have given lots of time away from your family and you deserve a gold medal in service to the students in the Daniel Boone School District,” said Schadt, who has been absent from meetings since July due to medical issues.

“Dr. Otto, you came in at the right time when the superintendent position opened up. You will have no problem in seeking and finding your next challenge.”

Schadt offered best wishes to new board members Rich Martino, David Rathgeb, Carol Beitz, Suzanne Dungan, and to Tamara Twardowski for “stepping up” to replace McCullough.

He said board members should remember during the budget processes that retired people are on a fixed income, but at the top of the list should be students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

“You should be on the school board to serve a fair education -- everything should be for the students,” said Schadt.

Basile said the board has missed Schadt and thanked him for his comments.