By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
SLIPPERY ROCK —
Slippery Rock school board members are well on their way to adopting a preliminary budget for the 2013-14 school year.
Paul Cessar, business manager and school board secretary, updated the board at their Monday night meeting, saying the district has a deficit of $846,000, a number they'll work to bring down over the coming months.
The shortfall comes mainly from increased costs for retirement expenses, special education services outside the district, cyber school services and contract obligations for the custodial, maintenance and transportation employees.
The board is expected to adopt the tentative spending plan at their Feb. 11 meeting and also apply for referendum exceptions under the state's Act 1 program, Cessar said.
If the state grants the exceptions, that means the board can pass a resolution to raise property taxes above the district's Act 1 index of 2.3 mills.
Act 1 dictates how much a district can raise property taxes without needing voter approval or permission from the state.
Cessar noted the board took the same steps last year and got state approval to go higher than the index but they did not raise taxes for the current school year budget of $28 million, which includes real estate taxes of 89.15 mills.
"It keeps our options open," he said of applying for referendum exceptions.
Exact revenues have yet to be factored into the budget since it's early in the year and the state is still working on its budget, but no staff cuts are expected, Cessar said.
Two big projects for the new school year will likely include a new roof at Moraine Elementary School and updates to the main entrances and security measures at all five school buildings.
The future of Har-Mer Elementary School could play into the budget, which right now doesn't include use of building changes, he said.
The board at 7 p.m. Monday is hosting a public hearing in the high school auditorium to get feedback on whether Har-Mer should remain open.
Enrollment has decreased over recent years, leading the board to consider closing the Harrisville building and moving those kindergarten through fifth grade to another building in the district.
Published Jan. 30, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.