DANVILLE — Business Manager Bobbi Ely is leaving the Danville Area School District to take a new position in Mechanicsburg.
According to online documents from the Mechanicsburg Area School Board’s May 10 meeting, Ely was appointed assistant business manager — controller, “effective once current district releases her, but no later than August 29, 2022.” She will fill a vacant position.
Ely said her leaving was unrelated to recent disagreements over the proposed $46.1 million budget for 2022-2023 that includes a deficit of $1.76 million, despite a 4 percent tax increase.
“I started the application and interview process with them back in March, so it had nothing to do with the last board meeting or suggestions from the board,” Ely wrote in an email message on Wednesday. “I am taking the position because it will be better for my family life with stability, and I will gain a great deal of experience in a larger district.”
Superintendent Ricki Boyle said Ely lives in the Port Trevorton area.
Board members Wayne Brookhart and Dr. Sandy Green said at the May 9 board meeting they were hesitant to vote on the budget, as is. The state requires the board adopt a budget by June 30.
Another board member, Richard Vognetz II suggested at the finance committee meeting earlier that evening that he would like to see a balanced budget with no tax increase, according to online minutes from that meeting. He told Ely he would like to see a budget scenario with no athletics. He said students could do fundraisers, including candy bar sales, to pay for athletics and extracurricular activities.
Ely said the proposed athletic budget was $800,564 and the proposed extracurricular budget was $181,790, a total of $982,354.
Vognetz said more people would rather pay for candy for athletics than have to pay more in taxes. He added that some people cannot afford the tax increase.
Boyle said students already do fundraisers through booster clubs. She said the booster clubs help the district get some of the necessary equipment and supplies for students.
The board will hold a public work session on Monday at 6 p.m. to discuss the budget.
Will finish budget
Ely handed in her letter of resignation on May 11, Boyle said. On Tuesday, John Bickhart, director of curriculum, instruction and technology, handed in his resignation after he was hired as the Milton Area School District’s new superintendent.
Ely doesn’t know the exact date she will leave, but it will be no later than Aug. 29, she said.
“I, of course, want to get Danville through their budget season and get taxes out for collection prior to my departure,” Ely said. “I have learned a lot in this position, and I am grateful for the opportunity and friendships I have made, but I am excited to start something new.
“I will really miss the people.”
Boyle, who said she knew Ely was applying elsewhere, said if she could get Ely out sooner than August, “She would appreciate it.”
“She’ll be greatly missed,” Boyle said. “She’s top notch. The same with John. The loss of the two of them, oh, my gosh.”
Milton asked Bickhart to start on July 1, she said.
Danville has been advertising for a new business manager.
“Finding a quality business manager for a school district is not going to be an easy task, especially up to her caliber,” Boyle said.
Ely was hired in Danville during the 2017-2018 school year. She previously worked as the lead accountant at the Capital Area Intermediate Unit from 2009-2017. She is a wife and the mother of two boys.