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Upper St. Clair School Board plans early jump on budget

| Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, 9:25 p.m.

The Upper St. Clair School Board will tackle its budget more than a month earlier than usual to smooth its busy budget-making season.

With a teacher contract in place and property taxes increased 1.618 mills last year to minimize or avoid a second year of tax increases, Superintendent Patrick O'Toole asked the school board at its December meeting to consider starting and ending the 2013-14 budget process sooner.

Now, instead of finalizing the budget by the end of June, the board scheduled its final vote for May. The proposed final budget will be available for public review and comment starting in April.

The board will still decide in January whether it will seek any exemptions from the state's Act 1 limitations on how much it can raise taxes each year. That will likely be a quick decision to stay within the limits, since O'Toole does not plan on asking for a second year of tax increases.

Having the teacher contract signed in the spring should cut down on uncertainty when drawing up the budget, although it also prohibits the district from laying off teachers, said district Director of Business and Finance Frosina Cordisco.

“Our process should not be as cumbersome — it should still be thorough, just not as cumbersome,” Cordisco said.

Earlier passage of the budget gives district personnel more time to implement it. The Technology Department, for example, will have an easier time of ordering and installing equipment, she said.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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