Along with and presentations by and , the Baldwin-Whitehall School Board heard and discussed a number of other important items at its meeting on Wednesday night.
Some of the highlights of that meeting are as follows:
Preliminary Budget for 2012-13 to Be Advertised
The school board voted, 6-2, to advertise its preliminary 2012-13 budget, which was by district Superintendent Dr. Lawrence C. Korchnak as cautious and as a "worst-case scenario."
The budget includes a proposed tax hike that could reach as much as an approximately 1-mill increase.
On Dec. 7, Korchnak said that, in light of economic uncertainty, approving a measure that would give the board the authority to raise taxes is necessary as a precautionary measure.
In no way does the board approving the ability to raise taxes constitute an actual tax raise, Korchnak stressed.
On this Wednesday night, district solicitor stressed that, at this point, the board is simply approving a motion to advertise that preliminary budget—coming in at $62,433,227—for public inspection and comment.
A copy of the budget is available at the on Curry Road in .
Board members Sam DiNardo Jr. and Diana Kazour cast the "no" votes. Fellow board member George L. Pry was absent.
Board President John B. Schmotzer provided an update on the school district's promotional DVD project, which at a cost not to exceed $20,000.
Schmotzer said that the project is nearing completion and that he hopes to share a final video with the public at a board meeting in January.
"I hope you will be very impressed," Schmotzer, a member of the DVD project's committee, said. "All hard work went into it, and it's very impressive."
January Meetings Pushed Back
Schmotzer said that the school board's January 2012 meeting dates have been pushed back to Jan. 11 and 18, the second and third Wednesdays of that month. That is a change from the traditional first-and-second-Wednesdays-of-every-month schedule.
Congratulations to Katie Zemaitis
Korchnak congratulated student , who beat out all challengers in Equitable Gas and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's First Night Pittsburgh Singing Contest to earn $500 in cash and the right to perform at The Benedum Center for the Performing Arts during Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2012.
Zemaitis will kick off the Equitable Gas Marquee Performances at The Benedum Center, starting at 6:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., on New Year's Eve.
She will also sing this Friday, Dec. 16, on the Pittsburgh Today Live TV show on CBS Pittsburgh (KDKA). The show runs from 9 to 10 a.m. that day.
Baldwinaires, a singing group made up of students, entertained attendees at Wednesday night's meeting with four different holiday songs.
Baldwin High music teacher Kris Tranter led the group.
(Watch the video accompanying this article to enjoy part of that performance.)
Tutition Vouchers Opposed
The school board formally opposed the adoption of a school vouchers bill in Pennsylvania by an 8-0 vote.
Part of the district's official stance, as read by Korchnak: "The Baldwin-Whitehall School District opposes any legislation or other effort by the General Assembly to implement a tuition voucher program in the Commonwealth or any other program that would have an effect similar to that of a tuition voucher program, and encourages its elected officials to oppose the same."
Baldwin High Bell Schedule Under Review
The school board approved, by an 8-0 vote, the formation of a committee to study the bell schedule at Baldwin High in order to increase instructional time for students.
Honeywell Contract Extension
The board approved, by a 7-1 vote, the extension of a two-year contract that the school district has with Honeywell Building Solutions. The new agreement is effective from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2013, and has a total cost of $267,038 per year.
DiNardo cast the lone "no" vote.
Schmotzer said that the new agreement saves the district $11,127 per year, as the same services were previously being provided for $278,165 per year.
District Christmas Card Winners
At the start of Wednesday's meeting, the board recognized the winners of the district's Christmas Card design contest.
Those winners were fourth-grader Kaley Michel, first-grader Christian Forgacs and 12th-grader Natasha Hiller.
(View the photo gallery accompanying this article to see those winning designs.)
Korchnak Promotes Patch's Holiday Lights Contest
During administrator comments time, Korchnak promoted Patch's Deck the House Contest, a no-strings-attached holiday lights competition in which the winner will receive $100,000 for their local public schools system.