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Allegheny Valley School District plans no tax increase for new budget

| Monday, March 20, 2017, 11:55 p.m.

Allegheny Valley School District does not expect to raise taxes next school year while at the same time adding a new position.

Superintendent Patrick Graczyk told the school board Monday night he would like to hire a technology director for next school year.

“If we don't have the staff to support our teachers with technology, it's going to get ahead of us,” he told the board.

He estimated the position salary to be the equivalent of a building principal, somewhere in the $70,000 to $80,000 range. The total cost would be about $110,000, when benefits are added.

“This isn't just a position that were plugging into the budget,” Graczyk said. “We went through everything to make sure that there is money to support it.”

Graczyk said that included taking money set aside for expenditures that didn't occur this year and shifting it to cover the new position.

The budget outlook Monday improved from the initial assessment Business Manager Brad Rau gave to the board in January.

At that time, the district was looking at a potential deficit of around $117,000, according to Rau.

In updating the preliminary budget, which is now just under $22.1 million and won't be officially presented until May, Rau said there won't be a deficit or any significant spending cuts.

He cited several reasons. One was an additional $268,000 in real estate tax revenue, which he said was due to commercial property assessment increases and new business development, primarily in Harmar.

That's nearly $35,000 more than what was projected in January.

Another he referred to is the $100,000 state subsidy increase for the current school year, which came in too late to be included in the current budget. He also pointed out one-time expenses, such as $55,000 for stadium bleachers that was included in this year's budget.

On the matter of the technology director, Graczyk contends it is really an educational need. He said the district has made improving its technology in the classroom a major priority.

“We really need someone to oversee and lead us into a technology program that takes us beyond the 21st century,” he said.

Overall, board President Larry Pollick said he was pleased with the work on the budget.

“We're fortunate, it's as simple as that,” Pollick said. “They (Graczyk and Rau) balance what we need with the reality of our revenues.”

Tom Yerace is a freelance writer.

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