Porfirio resigns from Wyoming Area board

Jan. 25—EXETER — Paul Porfirio submitted his letter of resignation from the Wyoming Area School Board to be considered at Tuesday's monthly meeting, effective immediately and the board unanimously accepted, with several members voicing regret.

Porfirio did not attend. Solicitor Jarrett Ferentino said Porfirio resigned for health reasons and needed time to address the "setback."

By state law the board has up to 30 days to pick a replacement, after which a Luzerne County Judge would make the choice. Board President Lara Best said the district will accept "letters of interest" from applicants until 3 p.m. Feb. 1. The board will then hold a Feb. 7 meeting to vote on a replacement from among those applicants. The letters can be emailed to board secretary Denise Holmes at dholmes@wyomingarea.org, or dropped off at the administrative office.

Ferentino noted that the person chosen will fill the seat until this December. A two-year seat will be added to the primary and general election ballots to fill the remaining two years of Porfirio's four-year term.

The board also adopted a resolution promising not to increase property taxes for the 2023-24 fiscal year by more than a state limit known as the Act I index. The limit for Wyoming Area this year is 5.5%. The vote doesn't mean taxes will be raised to that limit, the board can raise taxes to any rate to that maximum, or not at all.

The move gives the board until the end of May to approve a preliminary budget. Not passing the resolution would allow the district to seek voter approval or a state exemption to exceed the limit, but a preliminary budget would have to be completed now.

The board:

—Accepted the resignation of kindergarten aide Margaret Robbins.

—Approved a request by Ruth Corcoran from Fork Over Love to use the secondary center back parking lot for a meal distribution.

—Approved a change order with Grace Industries, Inc. related to tennis court renovations. The change is a net cost reduction of $35,895.

—Appointed Keri Ann Balucha as special education teacher and Marqarite MacDougall as Skills for Student Success teacher/social worker.

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish