AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

June 11, 2013

Directors to decide on tax rates

By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
Allied News

SLIPPERY ROCK — Slippery Rock school board members on Monday approved the preliminary budget for the 2013-14 school year but still have to set property tax rates.

"We have to look ahead," board member Kirby Lotz said of how they need to think beyond the coming school year.

The board unanimously adopted expenses of $28,428,595, meaning they cannot go above that amount when they set the final budget, which must be done by June 30, said Paul Cessar, board secretary and district business manager.

There must be at least 30 days between the adoption of the tentative and final budgets and the board expects to approve the final version at their June 24 meeting, but they have yet to decide whether they will raise taxes.

Rates are 89.15 mills, which did not go up for this school year. One mill brings the district just under $130,000,

"Right now we have a balanced budget," Cessar said.

That's mainly due to the 17 teachers who are retiring June 30, and seven are not being replaced; that makes 26 teachers who will have retired over the last two years, he said.

"It's a one-year event," he said of the large amount of retirees.

That's why the board needs to be careful in finalizing the budget and setting tax rates, Lotz said.

Also on Monday:

The board, after a 45-executive session for personnel issues, approved the elimination of six teaching positions at Har-Mer Elementary School, which the board on May 6 decided to close, effective July 1.

Those staffers will be transferred to Area Elementary and Moraine Elementary.

There's been a good response from people interested in joining the Har-Mer transition committee to help get students, parents and staff prepared for the new school year, Dr. Kathleen Nogay said.

"We're getting everyone acclimated," she said.

Kenneth Speer, who voted against closing Har-Mer this year, wanting instead to keep it open one more year, said he'd like to set a goal for keeping elementary classes a certain size. He has been concerned class sizes will be too large.

"The administration needs some guidance from us," said Speer, also chair of the board's Har-Mer committee.

Nogay said it would be hard to put something in writing to follow each year and Cessar said enrollment figures aren't very accurate until about Oct. 1.

Speer agreed with their concerns and made a motion to set a goal of 22 students per class in kindergarten, first and second grades; and 25 kids per class in third through fifth grades. Anything beyond those numbers would require Nogay's input.

The motion passed 6 to 3 with Lotz, Dr. Mark Mraz and Polly Shaw voting no. Speer, Angerett, Mark Taylor, David Hutner, Diana Wolak and the Rev. Michael Scheer, the board president, voted yes.

Published May 22, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.