AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

Local News

May 28, 2014

Board adopts proposed budget

Tax issue hasn't been decided

SLIPPERY ROCK — Slippery Rock school directors on Monday adopted the proposed budget of $29,390,324 for 2014-15 that includes the possibility of hiring two new teachers.

Whether real estates taxes will go up or remain at 89.15 mills is still up for discussion.

The board has until June 30 to adopt a final budget and has meetings scheduled for June 9 and 23 - both start at 7:30 p.m. in the middle school library.

In the meantime, the tentative budget is on display in the district’s main office for public viewing, and board members are hoping that more solid figures on state funding and grants come in from the Pennsylvania State Department of Education.

A number of parents have attended the last few board meetings to ask that board members consider hiring another teacher at Slippery Rock Area Elementary in the borough to add a fourth kindergarten class this fall, especially since the budget has yet to be finalized.

“I urge you to support our youngest learners,” Autumn Boylan told the board on Monday. Her son starts kindergarten later year at Area Elementary.

She said her research shows the class sizes for the younger students has been an ongoing issue in the district in recent years, and aides aren’t always a permanent solution.

The board hired two aides for this school year - one in Area Elementary and one in Moraine Elementary, which is in Prospect. Both buildings house students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

“That concerns us as parents,” said Boylan, who teaches fourth grade in another district. Her husband, Patrick, spoke at last Monday’s meeting and presented a petition with 53 signatures asking the board to hire another teacher.

When the board began its budget discussion Monday, preliminary expenses were at $29,328,324 - the figure the board had to work with if they were planning to hire one special education teacher as they had discussed a week ago, said Paul Cessar, the district’s business manager and board secretary.

Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Nogay had said there are critical staffing needs in the special education department - two positions at Moraine, one at the middle school and one at the high school - that need to be added.

The costs of three can most likely be offset by shifting other positions and retirements, and the fourth position will need to be part of the 2014-15 budget, she said.

Board member Diana Wolak made a motion to add two teachers to the budget - the special education teacher and another teacher for one of the elementary schools, with placement to be determined.

That brought the tentative budget up to $29,390,324, which was unanimously approved.

The additional elementary school teacher will go wherever the need is greatest, Nogay said, adding there’s an enrollment makeup day on June 16.

“Let’s see where the numbers fall in the next few weeks,” she said.

While the budget is still a work in progress, Cessar said taxes would need to go up by 5.88 mills to balance the current spending plan.

The board cannot approve a final budget that goes above the expenses they set on Monday. Taxes did not go up for the current school year.

Published May 21, 2014, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

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