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No tax increase in KC proposed budget

MILL HALL — The Keystone Central school board meeting was over in record time on Thursday night.

In a quick 12-minute meeting, the board approved, by a unanimous 7-0 vote the proposed budget for the 2021-22 school year. The KCSD budget checks in at $82.987 million.

The 7-0 roll call vote came without board president Tracy Smith and board member Eric Probert, who were absent from the meeting.

The Keystone Central School District covers parts of three counties — Centre, Clinton and Potter. The proposed real estate millage in each remains the same as this school year — Clinton County (13.35 mills), Centre County (44.44 mills) and Potter County (46.24 mills). As proposed, the district earned income and net profits tax will remain at one percent.

If adopted, the 2021-22 budget will mark the second consecutive year there is no real estate tax increase in the district. The 2020-21 budget also did not have a tax increase.

Final budget adoption will take place at the board’s next voting meeting, which is slated for Thursday, June 17. The June meetings have been pushed back a week due to Bucktail High School and Central Mountain High School graduation ceremonies.

In other business Thursday night:

— The board approved the hiring of two new coaches at Central Mountain High School.

Jeffrey Bodwell was hired as the new head girls’ basketball coach. According to the district, Bodwell has an “extensive background in coaching and teaching.” Bodwell’s resume includes coaching football, basketball and soccer. He comes to CMHS via Loveland High School in Ohio, where he was an assistant varsity football coach and a middle school head basketball coach.

Bodwell replaces longtime girls’ basketball coach Scott Baker, who resigned during the offseason.

In a news release, Bodwell said: “I am very excited to become the next varsity girls’ basketball coach at Central Mountain High School and I cannot wait to get started. I hope to capitalize on the foundation laid by the hard work and efforts of our returning student-athletes. Our goal is to further develop all the members of our girls’ basketball program as leaders, students, athletes and role models in our community. I look forward to building a culture that emphasizes the relationship between student-athletes and their community. I am both honored and humbled to be joining the Wildcat family.”

The other hire is Jamie Rauch as the new head girls’ volleyball coach. Rauch has several years of volleyball coaching experience, including travel club teams. She coached Central Mountain’s junior high school and junior varsity squads. She replaces Scott Garman, who stepped down at the conclusion of last season.

In a news release, Rauch said: “I am thrilled to get to work with this group of young ladies. It is exciting to approach the season with our younger talent eager to learn and grow as we move forward under the leadership of our upcoming junior and senior classes. We are hoping to see the program grow and establish a strong volleyball tradition at Central Mountain.”

— During public comment, a parent spoke out about bullying taking place at one of the district’s elementary schools. He said that his child is “afraid” and “does not want to go to school” because of intense bullying at the school. He said that he reached out to the school’s principal, to no avail.

School board vice president Randy Strouse suggested a “heart to heart” between the parents and school administrators, including superintendent Jacquelyn Martin. The parent said he would try that route next.

Free meal distribution continues next week. Seven days of bundled breakfasts and lunches will be available for all children ages 1-18 in the KCSD community on Monday, May 17 from 4:45 to 6 p.m. at Robb Elementary main entrance and Central Mountain High School bus loop entrance in parking lot B, and from 5-6 p.m. at Bucktail High School’s main entrance.

The Keystone Central school board will meet for a work session at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 10. That meeting is closed for public attendance, but will be available via Zoom through the district’s website.

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