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Exeter School Board wants education to be incentive for businesses

EXETER, Pa. - Exeter Township School board members at Tuesday's workshop meeting revisited the revised tuition reduction eligibility policy for non-residents.

The policy would allow business owners within the district to be eligible for a 50% tuition reduction to send their children to Exeter.

"The concept is progressive and is something that we can use to grow the community… If someone establishes their business in a community they want to have ties there, having children at the district would just create stronger ties," said board member Jim Brady.

Robert Gunter, board president, said the policy is a way the district could begin to become less dependent on the citizens for real estate tax and benefit more from businesses. 

Gunter also said offering a quality education is the district's contribution to helping to bring business to the area.

Not all members are in favor of the new policy, however, as a few argued that students would simply attend school and not be a part of the community.

Those members hold that being a part of the community is also a large part of education.

"I just think it's not the right thing to do… I think all public schools in the state are equally qualified to keep children educated," said Patricia O'Brien-Pieja, board member.

The board also discussed future plans for financial advising in anticipation of upcoming refinancing opportunities for the district.

Currently, the board is considering PFM and RBC capital.

The company up for discussion on the agenda at the workshop meeting was PFM per recommendation of the administration. 

Anne Guydish, board secretary, said some of the reasoning behind the decision to recommend PFM was because they have a larger volume of transactions per year and they also have several school districts as clients.

She also said the company has more resources available.

"I feel a company of PFM's size and depth can come up with appropriate solutions to relying on property tax and dependence on state money… I see no reason to delay it," said Gunter.

In spite of these discussions, the board has not ruled out going with an independent financial advisor. 

At the voting board meeting next week, Exeter will also vote on the approval of a consulting agreement between the district and Stackhouse Bensinger, Inc. to perform construction phase engineering services for the project at Owatin Creek.

Also up for vote at the Aug. 19  meeting will be ratifying a change order request for Owatin Creek, for additional work on the parking lot in the amount of $33,128.35.

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