Warwick SD Approves Tax Hike

By on June 17, 2015

Editor’s Note: Our print version includes some outdated numbers regarding the district’s fund deficit. The following is a clarification on that matter:

 The deficit from the Final Budget was approved with a budgeted deficit of $2,892,729, which would leave a fund balance of $5,644,038. The Warwick School District has taken significant strides over recent months to reduce the deficit, and the district also has the PSERS stabilization fund in place to help offset some of the budgeted deficit.

And here is the rest of the story:

The Warwick School Board approved the 2015-16 Warwick School District general fund budget on June 16, giving tax payers a 2.3 percent increase in taxes.

The general fund budget came in at $67,739,551, based on painstaking review and adjustments to the budget by district business manager Nathan Wertsch and the board’s Finance & Legal Committee.

To cover the newly approved budget, the tax increase needed equals 0.4533 mills, which sets the millage rate at 20.1627. The board also approved the levying of taxes, with real estate taxes due and payable July 1, 2015.

According the Wertsch, a property owner with an average home assessed at $146,000, would expect a property tax increase of approximately $66.

Some of the increases in the budget are due to salaries, the Public School Employees Retirement System or PSERS, healthcare, special education, transportation and tech integration.

Looking ahead, planners are concerned that the Warwick School District’s fund balance will not be able to be sustained, without significant efforts to reduce costs.

In personnel matters, the board approved the appointment of Christopher Christensen as head boys basketball coach at Warwick High School. Christensen was named to the position vacated by Jeff Landis, who resigned.

Several people were not pleased that another candidate Wes Soto was overlooked for the position.

Ashley Parry, who graduated from Warwick High School in 2008 and played basketball  while in high school, said that she had been impressed with Soto’s dedication as a volunteer basketball coach at Warwick.

“He has an all-encompassing understanding of the game from a technical standpoint, and it showed in everything he did,” said Parry.

She questioned the method used to select the basketball coach by a five-person committee, calling it “flawed.” As a student at Michigan State University, Parry had worked in the athletic department there and said that she felt that Soto was of the highest caliber as a basketball coach.

“Wes Soto has been bypassed three times,” she said. “This is unfair to Wes. Many young men will be affected.”

Blaine Pennypacker echoed Parry’s views. The father of three young men who had played basketball at Warwick, agreed that it was unfair that Soto was not selected as coach.

“My son Matthew played with Wes when he was in high school, and Wes took him under his wing.” said Pennypacker. “He told me that Mr. Soto really helps me with my game.”

In response, board president Timothy Quinn defended the decision-making process, saying that the procedure consisted of multiple interviews and reference checks. The details of that process is confidential as a personnel matter, but, he assured them, “no one has anything against Mr. Soto.”

In other personnel matters for the 2015-16 school year, Mollie Shreiner was named as elementary physical education teacher at Lititz Elementary School. She is replacing Mari Cummins, who retired, and Shreiner attended the meeting to thank the board for the opportunity.

Brittany Keifer was approved as math teacher at Warwick High School. She replaces Michael Gingrich, who resigned. Tara Anspach was OKed as speech and language teacher at John Beck Elementary School, replacing Megan Klinger, who resigned.

Lyle Ressler was named as junior high assistant cross country coach at Warwick Middle School. Emily Fetsick was approved as band assistant (50 percent) for the 2015-15 school year.

The board approved a number of Sunday use requests of district facilities and fields, including Post 56 American Legion baseball on June 28, Warwick Youth Girls Softball from August through November, and Warwick Midget Football from September through November.

Quinn reported that attending the recent Warwick High School commencement was an honor that marked the culmination of a successful year for graduating students. He noted that commencement marked “an end and a beginning.”

“It feels like a beginning,” he said. “We have just passed the budget for the next school year.”

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