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News in brief

August 31, 2011

Delaware to consider a sole assessor

HORTONVILLE, NY — Despite the fact that the idea was shot down by residents a number of years ago, the Town of Delaware board will consider changing the number of assessors from three to one. “We are one of the rare towns that have three assessors,” said Jim Scheutzow, board chairman. “Most, if not all, have only one.”

The town board rejected the idea of holding a non-binding referendum during the next election. “You have the power right now to decide to have one assessor if you wish it,” said town attorney Ken Klein.

One of the problems is finding a person who already has the skills and the knowledge to do the job. A new assessor would have to attend several weeks, if not months, of training in order to do the job. The term for assessors is six years.

Since most assessor positions in small towns are part-time, it was suggested by one of the board members that the job should be shared with another town’s assessor. The town board will decide at its next meeting after hearing the legal ramifications from the town attorney.

Literacy programs in NEPA forfeit funding

NORTHEAST PENNSYLVANIA — Five programs providing literacy, English as a Second Language and GED services in Northeastern PA will not receive funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of ABLE. One of them is the Wayne Pike Adult Literacy Program (WYPALP).

In May, the WPALP Board of Directors unanimously voted not to apply for funding from the Bureau of ABLE for the 2011 to 2012 fiscal year, on the basis of major changes in the state policy and funding guidelines that the organization felt run counter to its mission.

Because the new guidelines require workforce employment goals, they would have ruled out WPALP’s service of student volunteers who go on to teach literacy to others. In addition, WPALP would have been able to serve only adults with a reading level of fifth grade or lower, and would not be able to keep them on beyond a ninth grade reading level. Some of the expectations for English as Second Language were also changed in ways WPALP considers unacceptable. The Reverend William L. Samford, WPALP board president, said, “Our mission continues to be to serve all who seek literacy help and our intention is to do our best to keep the integrity of our program intact.”