Last meeting for Superintendent Charlie Reh is emotional
CATAWISSA RR - Southern Columbia Area Superintendent Charlie Reh was full of emotion and "thank yous" during his last school board meeting Monday night before retirement.
Reh, his voice cracking, told the school board directors it was an honor and privilege to serve as superintendent.
"It's been the highlight of my career serving this district," he said.
Reh's official retirement date is Feb. 4, 2013, but his last day on campus will be Friday, the last day of the semester. Paul Caputo, who was hired as Reh's successor last month at the board meeting, will start Feb. 4.
Six years ago, Reh replaced Caputo as high school principal on what was supposed to be a temporary basis, and now Caputo, the current superintendent at Upper Dauphin Area School District, will replace him.
"The best thing to happen to me was when Paul Caputo left for Upper Dauphin," Reh said Monday, and then noted the best thing to happen to Caputo was his own retirement.
Reh, who presented the board with certificates of appreciation in honor of School Board Member Appreciation Month, thanked the directors for their hard work and dedication.
"I admire anyone who is a board member, and you deserve all the recognition you can get," he said.
He said the district is blessed to have the administrators and noted "the right people" made his job easier over the years.
"We didn't always agree, but the district is a better place," he said.
He thanked everyone again, his voice cracking with emotion for a second time.
Both high school Principal Jim Becker and board President Mike Yeager thanked him and wished him well in his retirement.
"I will miss working together," Yeager said.
The board approved the availability for public inspection of the proposed 2013-14 preliminary budget in the amount of $18,465,177 with the intention to adopt it at the Feb. 11 meeting.
The latest update to the budget analysis puts the district $687,000 in the hole, said Business Manager Mike Sokoloski.
In order to fill that deficit with tax increases only, Northumberland County property owners would see a raise from 49.95 mills to 57.24 mills while Columbia County property owners would see a raise from 34.20 mills to 38.77 mills.
On a property assessed at $20,000, Northumberland County residents would see an average increase of $91 a year while Columbia County residents would see an average increase of $146 a year.
However, said Sokoloski, "There's no way the state will allow us to raise taxes that high."
Therefore, the district will be "whittling down" the budget over the next month, he said.