$27 million budget calls for 4.33 percent rise in property taxes in Luzerne County.

Last updated: June 17. 2013 11:40PM -

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LEHMAN TWP. — In a cost-cutting move, the Lake-Lehman School Board on Monday appointed an administrator with no classroom experience as principal of Ross Elementary.

Board members also passed a $27 million budget that requires a 4.33 percent increase in property taxes for residents who live in Luzerne County. Those residing in Wyoming County will see a tax decrease of 5.88 percent in the coming year.

Board members Bo Kreller and Karen Masters voted against the tax increase. At May’s meeting, they stated their opposition to higher taxes.

Newly appointed principal Lori Bednarek has a master’s degree in Business Education Management and serves as special projects coordinator for the district. She will continue in some of her present duties in addition to her new assignment.

Ellen Boyer of Ross Township questioned the appointment before the school board’s vote. “Our principal will be dividing her attention,” she said.

Superintendent James McGovern said most of the district’s principals do double duty. “This is going to work,” he said.

When Boyer asked about hiring a principal who had never taught, McGovern said, “I believe in this decision. I’m going to leave Ross in great hands.”

Two board members, James Welby and Richard Bombick, voted against the appointment.

A stipend of $7,324 will be added to Bednarek’s present salary of $55,676. The stipend will be paid in two installments and will be based on satisfactory evaluations.

Board members Bo Kreller and Karen Masters voted against the tax increase. In May’s meeting, they had stated their opposition to higher taxes.

After the meeting, McGovern defended the selection of Bednarek for principal. He explained that two years ago Gov. Tom Corbett made changes that allow persons with master’s degrees in business to serve as superintendents and principals in the state’s school districts.

He also said the present budget reduced the number of teaching positions by three. He felt it was fair to make a reduction in the administration as well. Bednarek’s appointment will combine two administrative positions into one.

Board President Mark Kornoski added his support to McGovern’s choice. “If the man says it’s gonna work, it’s gonna work,” he said

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