Southmoreland board to review investments
Southmoreland School Board agreed on Thursday to review its investment portfolio.
The district has more than $3 million in Scottdale Bank and Trust and more than $3 million in PNC Bank.
Director Tony Lizza questioned why the district shouldn’t move more money to Scottdale Bank and Trust, which provides about 1.25 percent return on investments compared to PNC Bank’s 0.41 percent return.
“That’s almost a mill that we’re losing there,” he said. “Besides that, every year Scottdale Bank donates almost $100,000 to the district to help out the students, so I don’t see why we don’t move some more money there to let them try to make a little more money.”
Business Manager Bill Porter reported at a previous meeting that the district’s auditor suggested the district obtain a letter from Scottdale Bank that would certify there was enough collateral with the bank to handle more funds from the district.
Acting Superintendent John Molnar said the Pennsylvania School Boards Association recommends that districts not “put all of your eggs in one basket.”
Director Catherine Fike asked Molnar whether the board could request Porter to look at different banks and their interest rates and what banks would be able to provide a letter certifying collateral for certain amounts of money invested.
In other business, resident Karen Kiefer presented the board with information from the Commonwealth Foundation website that showed the change in taxes per student from the 1997-98 school year to the 2007-08 school year.
A number of schools went down in taxes per student by up to 39 percent, but there were those that increased in taxes per student up to 21 percent, which is where the study listed Southmoreland School District.
But Director Levi Miller said that districts comparable to Southmoreland are about the same.
“Not to say that the ballpark we’re in is a good one, but we need more information on these figures,” he said.
Miller added that some of those districts that have reduced taxes per student are ones like McKeesport where there is a need for improvement by students on state tests.
Kiefer said she would is interested in continuing an examination of the tax rate.
“Bill Porter pointed out several things on the white board (at a previous meeting) that could be cut that really have very little to do with PSSA scores,” she said.
Some of those suggestions were to eliminate busing and budgeting for sports programs.