Greensburg Salem OKs preliminary budget with $670K gap
Greensburg Salem School Board members have a smaller budget gap to close than they have in recent years, though there is still a significant shortage.
The $44.7 million preliminary 2017-18 budget, passed 5-3 by the board Wednesday, has a deficit of about $670,000.
The maximum allowable tax increase, 2.88 mills, would bring the deficit below $12,000.
The maximum 2.88-mill increase this year would add $47.26 to the average district property owner's tax bill.
The board has raised property taxes in 16 of the last 17 years.
Although the board is required to vote on a preliminary budget that will be presented to the public, it is not a final product. Board members say the budget can and most likely will undergo significant changes before a final budget is passed next month.
Board members Jeffrey Metrosky, Rick Payha and Robin Savage voted against the preliminary budget, saying they couldn't accept such a large deficit.
“It's a budget with a $600,000 deficit,” Metrosky said.
“Exactly. It needs a lot of work, so ‘no,' ” Savage said.
Board President Ron Mellinger said he approved the preliminary budget as a starting point but would not accept a large deficit in the final product.
Overall, expenses are expected to go up about $1.3 million.
That's a little less than in the first draft of the budget, presented to the board last month. The district has since decided not to replace two full-time and one part-time instructional staff members and plans to save about $90,000 by postponing an elementary school curriculum upgrade.
The preliminary budget does not include a tax increase, but district Business Manager Jim Meyer cautioned that if the board does not raise taxes, it could be facing a more significant gap in 2018.
The district agreed to a new teacher contract last year, which calls for salary increases in the 2018-19 school year.
If the district does not reduce its budget deficit now, it risks a larger one in the future, Meyer said.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.