Sunday, March 7, 2021

About Town - March 7, 2021

This week's photos of Columbia

(Click/tap on photos to see larger, sharper images.)

On Saturday night, the LanCarolers from Lancaster's Prima Theatre 
performed on the 400 block of Chestnut Street, as they did 

Columbia Spy was lucky enough to catch part of their performance.

Earlier in the week, this guy was maintaining streetlights around town.

Earlier yet, this murder of crows made themselves at home atop the Elks.

The one who squawks the loudest becomes the boss.
No brains required.
Same with humans.

Sudstown, a once-great Columbia establishment

The borough hall clocks will soon get new, updated motors. 

According to legend, the two holes in the one clock face (near XII o'clock and VI o'clock) are the result of someone firing a .22 from across the street.

It seems there's only one way of doing things in Columbia, quite often the wrong way.

Chopper flyover

Elevated mailbox for airmail, possibly from the chopper flyover . . .

. . . or from the warthog flyover.

New, improved dumpster, now with porta-pottie built right in!

Heavenly light leaking through the firmament

New reflective street signs are being installed around town due to state requirements.
So much for history.

Here's an example of the older ones.

This "Survey Vehicle" with a "Max Speed [of] 5 mph" hung briefly on Front Street last Thursday.
(It was going more than 5 mph after it pulled away.)

Not bad artwork at the canoe/kayak launch under the Veterans Memorial Bridge

Car transport trailer on North 6th

Lost door looking for a vehicle on South 3rd

We're still waiting for that bridge rehabilitation project - 
Will it happen in time?

This show window at Burning Bridge Antiques was replaced on Monday morning due to a large crack in the previous window.

Obviously a good place to drop your drawers

No ADA access!
Because someone didn't allow enough setback when the posts were installed.
Oh well, the borough will say it's "grandfathered in."

Dead but not gone

Tis the season

Seating for chairmen and chairwomen

A head for flowers

Searching for salvation at Borough Hall

Here are three views of the river from Todd Stahl:

Columbia school board prepares 2021-22 budget with no tax increase

The board reviewed a preview of its general fund budget for the 2021-22 school year with no tax increase.

Overview: The school district's real estate tax rate is set at 26.46 mills. Taxpayers with an average assessed property would pay $2,470 in taxes. Overall, the district estimates revenues of $26.56 million, up 1.49% from 2020-21, and predicts $27.43 million in expenses, up 1.11% from the current year.

Expenses: The $300,782 rise in expenses is attributed to a $420,000 increase in cyber charter tuition. The district will also seek to hire new technology and autistic support teachers and fill six other vacant positions. District reserves would be used to cover an estimated $878,982 deficit between revenues and expenses.

What's next: The board expects to adopt a proposed final budget in May and a final budget in June.

Federal aid: The school district will receive $2.38 million in additional federal grant funds to assist with coronavirus-related expenses. This financial aid, according to chief of finance and operations Keith Ramsey, must be spent by Sept. 30, 2023. To date, the district has received $2.97 million in federal aid related to COVID-19.

Cyber charter school reform: Last month, the board adopted a resolution calling for reforms to the current cyber-charter funding formula. The district initially expected to spend $1.5 million on tuition to enroll 70 standard and 26 special education students in cyber charter schools in 2021-22. However, Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed measures to reform charter school funding that would cap tuition rates for standard students at $9,500 a learner, down 14.63% or $1,629 from initial district estimates. If approved, the district would save roughly $414,030 on tuition costs as of next school year, Ramsey said. 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Columbia plans return to full in-person learning at all schools

The school district is prepared to put the finishing touches on its return to full-time, in-person instruction beginning March 8. To address any additional public comments or concerns, district officials will host three information sessions in the following formats: an in-person and recorded session at the middle schools March 10; a virtual session at the elementary school March 11; and a Q&A session at the high school March 16. Further details will be available on the district's website.