Jun. 18—NANTICOKE — Without comment both before the vote and after Thursday's monthly meeting, the Greater Nanticoke Area School Board voted 8-0 to ask member Matthew Landmesser to resign his seat. The board also approved a final 2021-2 budget that raises taxes the state maximum of 4.5%, but that also keeps most of a $2.2 million fund balance intact.
Landmesser has missed multiple consecutive meetings, and has been dealing with police charges of invasion of privacy. The state School Code allows a school board to remove a member who misses two consecutive meetings, but there are exceptions that make the matter murky, District Solicitor Vito DeLuca said after the meeting. While the code seems clear, there have been state Supreme Court rulings that create gray areas regarding the reasons the person misses meetings.
If Landmesser agrees to resign, the board would have the option of appointing a replacement to fill his term. But DeLuca declined to say what the board options might be if he doesn't resign.
The final budget keeps a 4.5% property tax increase that was in the proposed final budget approved last month, raising the tax rate to 12.4473 mills. A mill is a $1 tax on every $1,000 or assessed property value.
The final budget differs from the proposed budget in one significant way: The amount of reserves spent to balance income and spending. Business Consultant Tom Melone said the district had found various savings in supply purchases, health care costs and other places, coupled with some additional income through federal grant money to close a roughly $1.2 million gap in the preliminary budget that was to be covered by money from a fund balance of about $2.2 million.
The upshot: The $34.8 million spending plan will require only about $197,463 from the reserves, potentially leaving much of the fund balance intact by the end of the fiscal year next June.
The board also voted on an Act 93 agreement, which generally covers non-union employees, including administrators. But with Landmesser absent, the board split 4-4 on the deal, and a tie vote means a motion fails. After the meeting Board President Tony Prushinski said that some of the members felt the deal could use more work, and that additional discussions will be held.
Unlike union contracts, Act 93 deals are considered a "meet and discuss" arrangement where the board can have discussions with those impacted by the deal, but are not bound to get their approval.