Author Archives: Bill Bostic

Bill Bostic

About Bill Bostic

Bill Bostic is the founder and publisher of the Linglestown Gazette.

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Sorting out CD school board race

The municipal primary election on May 21 is only hours away — and the hottest race by far is for Central Dauphin School Board in voting region #2.

The winners of this race could impact who holds leadership positions on the board starting late this year.

You’ll be voting for the candidates shown above if you live in western and southern Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin Borough and Middle Paxton Township. CLICK HERE for a map of Central Dauphin’s three voting regions.

There’s been what probably is an unprecedented amount of money spent on campaign signs, mailers and billboards by a pair of two-person teams.

The candidates are Richard Mazzatesta and his partner Ted Giovanis and their opponents Lauren Silvers and Ryan Gonder.

Below are videos of the candidates taken during a forum held on April 17 by Linglestown Area Civic Association:

Notes:

The candidates in region #3 that covers eastern sections of Lower Paxton Township and all of West Hanover Township are unopposed. This means incumbent Ford Thompson and former school board member Linda Dallago will appear on the November ballot.

Voting region #1 is outside the coverage area of Linglestown Gazette. It’s located in Swatara Township, Paxtang and Penbrook.

TED GIOVANIS

RYAN GONDER

RICHARD MAZZATESTA

LAUREN SILVERS

 

 

CD schools face cash crunch in 2022

By Bill Bostic

Central Dauphin School District is on track to hold the line on taxes for next school year, but there’s trouble brewing in 2022 if things stay as they are now.

The district’s most recent five-year financial projection shows the operating fund running out of money by the tune of $3 million in 2022. The report is used as a planning tool and is only a rough estimate of what’s coming down the pike. But the numbers serve as a warning that the district is on shaky financial ground in the near term.

The scary thing about this situation is that Central Dauphin School District is in good financial shape when compared to most school districts across the state. Karen McConnell, assistant superintendent of finance, regularly says the district has had clean state audits and above average bond ratings, which is helpful when the district borrows money for major projects.

With that being the case, why is the district trying to close a $1.9 million budget gap for next school year and facing a potential cash shortage in the not too distant future?

State government funding is NOT keeping pace

Recent budget information sessions held by the school board have shown that the primary driver of the problem is state government underfunding Central Dauphin and many other school districts by millions of dollars a year.

Based on an education funding formula adopted by the state in 2015 but only partially implemented, Central Dauphin received $5.8 million less than the formula calls for this school year. And it’s worse for next school year with the preliminary shortage from the state being pegged at $6.9 million.

Making matters worse are school employee pension contributions that the state has increased by millions of dollars a year since 2011, state-mandated contributions for charter schools, and other required expenses that increase every year.

Citizens need to get involved

School board member Eric Epstein recommended that school officials and residents contact two local state lawmakers to ask for increased state funding — State Senators Mike Folmer of Lebanon County and John DiSanto of Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County.

Both lawmakers are members of the Senate’s Education Committee, he said.

The school board’s finance committee met last week and the tentative plan is to use $4.4 million in reserve dollars and not fill some staff positions when they come open to balance the 2019-2020 budget. No tax hike is planned for the first time since the budget adopted in 2013.

By using reserve funds this year, it’s unlikely the district can avoid a tax hike next year without more help from the state and possibly staff furloughs.

McConnell will explain the district’s preliminary 2019-2020 budget and take questions from the public during an information meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 9 in the Central Dauphin East High School auditorium, 626 Rutherford Road. The session will start at 7 p.m.

The board needs to finalize the budget for next school year by June 30.

Below is contact information for asking Folmer and DiSanto to help increase state funding for CD schools:

Senator John DiSanto                Senator Mike Folmer
Senate Box 203015                    Senate Box 203048
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3015           Harrisburg, PA 17120-3048

Room: 168 Main Capitol              Room: 337 Main Capitol
(717) 787-6801                           (717) 787-5708

 

 

CD school officials look to end string of tax hikes

By Bill Bostic

Central Dauphin School District’s administration appears to have been given a mandate by the school board to produce a budget for the 2019-2020 school year that does not include a tax hike.

School property taxes have gone up about 15% over the last five years. There’s been growing pressure applied by a few board members to end the string of what some call “automatic tax hikes.”

Karen McConnell, the district’s assistant superintendent for finance, told the school board earlier this week that the budget planning process started last fall needed to find $8 million to produce a balanced budget that is required by state law. That number is now down to $2.6 million in a budget that most likely will come in at a little over $200 million.

She believes she can get the gap down to $1 million over the next few weeks. If that comes true, the budget most likely would be balanced by using reserve funds and not filling some staff positions when they come open.

McConnell said the district’s student population continues to grow, a trend that prevents the district from reducing the number of teachers and support staff without increasing class sizes.

School board member Stephen Smith expressed concern about the impact of not raising the tax rate on the district’s finances over the next few years. With the state government capping the size of tax hikes, he reminded the board that the dollars not received by keeping the tax rate level next school year would be lost forever. The district could hike taxes a maximum of 2.8% this year.

School board member Eric Epstein indicated that he has several ideas for reducing expenses and will meet with McConnell to discuss them.

On another front, residents have inquired about going from half-day kindergarten to a full-day program – and some are calling for pre-kindergarten classes. Outgoing Superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson recently said she supports both programs but there’s no funding available to put them in place at this time.

Epstein has pointed out that Central Dauphin was underfunded by $5.8 million last year by the state government implementing a fair funding formula in an unfair way. Adding to the district’s financial challenges has been skyrocketing state-mandated pension costs that have gone from $4 million in 2011 to an estimated $27 million next school year.

The board has to adopt a preliminary budget by May 9 and a final version by June 30.

To get more information on the district’s budget and property taxes, residents can attend a town hall meeting on Monday, April 29 at Central Dauphin East Middle School located at 628 Rutherford Road. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

 

 

Central Dauphin superintendent resigns

By Bill Bostic

Central Dauphin School District Superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson announced her resignation Monday from the position effective June 30 and her intention to retire from public education.

She was appointed to the position in 2012. Prior to becoming the superintendent, she was the district’s assistant superintendent and a principal at Linglestown Middle School and Central Dauphin High School.

Despite a long list of accomplishments that Johnson noted in her resignation speech, she said it was time to move on and allow someone else to deal with criticisms and controversies that have cropped up in recent months.

Following her announcement, board member Justin Warren expressed disappointment in the board’s lack of civility, dismissive nature and critical tone. He went on to challenge fellow board member Richard Mazzatesta about an email he shared with board members about the district’s state assessment data.

Board chairman Ford Thompson expressed regret and sadness about Johnson’s resignation.

“It’s not OK for the acrimony to occur over the last 17 months,” he said.

The meeting ended with Central Dauphin East principal Dr. Jesse Rawls, Jr. and other district employees thanking Johnson for her service to the district.
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This story was first published by PennLive.com.

 

 

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CD Rams advance four to state wrestling championships

Central Dauphin Rams finished fourth in the PIAA District 3 Individual Wrestling Championships with 80.5 points. They trailed Chambersburg (103), Dallastown (120.5), and first-place Cedar Cliff (124.5).

Top finishers for the Rams who advance to the PIAA wrestling championships in two weeks at Hershey’s Giant Center are listed below:

Josh Miller finished second in 113 pounds. He narrowly lost the final to Cumberland Valley’s Ben Monn 5-4.

In 138 pounds, Tye Weathersby finished third by defeating Brooks Gable of Dallastown 2-1.

CD’s Jackson Talbott came in fourth in 195 pounds. Big Springs’s Hunter Hefflefinger defeated Jackson 5-4 in the consolation match.

And in 220 pounds, Marques Holten brought home a silver medal. He was pinned by Dallastown’s Jamal Brandon at 7:48 in the championship match.
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Josh Miller is pictured battling Cumberland Valleys’s Ben Monn in the District 3 3A individual wrestling championship finals Saturday at Hersheypark Arena. Photo by PennLive.

CD Rams win team title in sectional wrestling

Central Dauphin Rams Wrestling brought home six gold medals to win the team title Saturday at the PIAA District-3 Class 3A sectional tournament held at Hempfield High School in Lancaster County.

Here’s a summary of CD’s top finishers this weekend:

CD’s Josh Miller defeated Ethan Ketner of Hershey 5-3 to win the 113-pound class

In the 132-pound weight class, CD’s Bryce Buckman took third place by defeating Owen Rohrer of Penn Manor 12-3

CD Ram Tye Weathersby won the 138-pound class by defeating Manheim Central’s Conner Zeamer 17-3.

At 145 pounds, Mitchell Arch grabbed another gold medal for the Rams by defeating David Over of Manheim Township 12-4

CD’s Hunter Bentz finshed third in the 152-pound class by defeating Hempfield’s Ian Edwards 10-4

Ethan Pae of CD grabbed fourth place in the 160-pound class.

CD Ram Tim Smith brought home the gold in 170 with a 1-0 win over Milton Hershey’s Darius Briggs

CD’s Nathaniel Mosey finished fifth in 182.

Jackson Talbott won the 195-pound class with a 16-5 victory over T.J. Keener of Penn Manor

Bringing home another gold medal at 220 for CD was Marques Holten with a 6-3 decision over Tyler Phenegar of Lampeter-Strasburg

And Jayden Baylor of the CD Rams finished second in the 285-pound class

Next up for the Rams is the district tournament on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23 at Hersheypark Arena.

Rams Wrestling gets 4th place in D-3 team tourney

Article revised Saturday, 2/2/19 at 10:15 pm with updated info for the PIAA Team Championships – see last paragraph. 

Central Dauphin Rams wrestling competed for the bronze medal Saturday afternoon in the District 3 Class 3A team championships against arch rival Cumberland Valley Eagles.

Going into the final bout at Spartan Center at Milton Hershey School, CD led Cumberland Valley 28-24.

The Eagles needed something special to happen in the final match. And CV’s Jacob Lucas earned a 20-5 technical fall over CD’s Ethan Pae in the 182-pound class. The decision pushed the Eagles past the Rams by a point, 29-28.

Cedar Cliff Colts won the 3A title by defeating top-seeded Dallastown 39-28 to win the District 3 Class 3A team title.

Despite losing to CV, the Rams earned a spot in the state Team Wrestling Championships. They are scheduled to compete in a preliminary round dual Monday, 7:30 pm against District 11 second seed Northampton at Catasauqua High School in Northampton.

CD boys top CD East in b-ball rivalry

By Bill Bostic

The Central Dauphin Rams boys basketball team lead throughout a 79-61 win Tuesday in a rivalry game against the Central Dauphin East Panthers at the CD High gym

TV broadcasters on High School Sports Live credited CD’s Da’von Haggans, a sophomore power forward, for providing the Rams the spark they needed to outscore the Panthers 27-13 in the third quarter and seal the victory. He scored eight in the quarter.

Other keys to CD’s victory were only turning over the ball seven times and using full-court pressure at various times to force numerous giveaways by the Panthers.

The Rams’ top scorer was Rance Russo with 16. Other Rams who hit double-digits were Ryan Smith (15), Nick Chimienti (12), and Haggans (12).

The Panthers were led by Amir Jackson (15), Aaron Jones (11), and Xavier Samuels (10).

The win allows CD to stay at or close to the top spot in the Mid-Penn Commonwealth division with an 8-3 record (12-4 overall).

On Friday, the Rams travel to Chambersburg to take on the Trojans, and the Panthers (3-8 division, 6-8 overall) host Altoona.
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Pictured is CD junior Nick Chimienti who contributed 12 points Tuesday against CD East. (Photo by Neil Renaldi)

Carlisle avenges early season loss to Rams

By Bill Bostic

The Carlisle Area Thundering Herd used a tough to crack zone defense and an outstanding 26-point offensive performance by guard Howie Rankine to upend the Central Dauphin Rams on Wednesday 55-48 at the CD gym.

The Rams scratched out a 23-21 lead in the first half, but Carlisle outpointed the Rams 19-9 in the third quarter to take command of this contest. Plus, Carlisle had the benefit of having penalty free throws starting late in the third quarter, and netted 22 of 28 from the charity line in the second half.

Rams’ top scorer Wednesday was Ryan Smith, #22, with 16 points. Photo by Neil Renaldi.

But the Rams didn’t go away quietly. Down by 10 early in the fourth quarter, CD clawed their way back to within two points of the Herd with 1:33 on the clock.

The Rams had two good looks late that did not go down – Ryan Smith failed to convert a reverse layup with about a minute to go and Tyrese Fuller just missed on a layup with 30 ticks left on the clock after driving the lane.

Carlisle then sealed their victory by hitting free throws when the Rams put them on the line during desperation time.

Scoring leaders for the Rams were Ryan Smith (16) and Rance Russo (11).

The loss put the Rams’ at 7-2 in the division (11-3 overall), which most likely puts them in a tie for the conference lead with Cumberland Valley and Harrisburg.

CD hosts the Altoona Mountain Lions on Friday. Junior varsity game starts at 5 pm and the varsity at 6:30 pm.
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Pictured at top is Carlisle’s Howie Rankin who burned the Rams for 26 points Wednesday. He is one the premier guards in the Mid-Penn Conference. (Photo by PennLive.com)

CD Rams ride big first half to win over State College

By Bill Bostic

Central Dauphin Rams boys basketball team played a stellar first half Friday and held off a late run by the visiting State College Little Lions to win 61-54 and get into double figures for wins this season (10-2 overall, 7-1 conference).

The victory keeps the Rams in a tie at the top of the Mid-Penn Commonwealth with the Cumberland Valley Eagles, who pulled out a road win Friday over Altoona by a score of 56-53.

CD sophomore shooting guard Ryan Smith was on fire in the first quarter with 15 points, including a trio of three-pointers. He was the game’s top scorer with 20.

“We shot the lights out,” said CD head coach Wayne Fletcher. “I don’t know that we shot the ball that well in a half before. It was pretty nice.”

The second quarter featured a scoring barrage from CD senior shooting guard Niko Santiago, who nailed three three-pointers on his way to an 11-point quarter. And senior power forward Jaraud Smith played some sterling defense with multiple steals that helped the Rams take a 42-27 lead into the locker room.

The Little Lions clawed their way back into the game in the third quarter by pressuring the perimeter on defense and getting balanced scoring from their lineup. They outscored the Rams 27-19 in second half and got the lead down to four with 2:30 to go in the fourth quarter.

Smith choked off State College’s comeback attempt by going five for eight from the charity line in the fourth quarter.

“We want to ride this as long as we can, said Fletcher. “Lots of things can change but we just want to enjoy this and work as hard as we can every time we lace them up.”

The Little Lions were led offensively by junior Johnny Freiberg and senior Cam Villarouel who both scored 16.

Next week the Rams play three home games: A non-conference game Monday against Cedar Cliff Colts and conference games Wednesday and Friday against the Carlisle Thundering Herd and the Altoona Mountain Lions respectively.
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Pictured above is Nikos Santiago who netted 11 points in the first half to help the Rams in the Friday’s State College game. He finished with 14. (Photo by Neil Renaldi.)