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Moon Area posts $1.4M deficit

| Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The Moon Area School District has included a 4 percent millage rate increase in its preliminary 2014-15 budget, but it still needs to close a $1.4 million deficit in the plan, according to a report released this week.

On Monday, the school board will vote on the preliminary budget of $66.4 million, which factors in a property tax rate increase to 18.8461 mills.

The district's current millage rate is 18.1167 mills and its current budget is $63.5 million.

The state Department of Education in March approved the district's request for an exception to allow it to raise its millage rate more than the limit of 2.4 percent.

About 75 percent of the deficit is related to the district's state-mandated contributions to the Public School Employees' Retirement System, Superintendent Curt Baker said Monday.

The district estimates that its contribution to the system will increase from $4.6 million, or 16.94 percent of employees' salaries in the current school year, to $6.1 million, or 21.4 percent of employees' salaries, in 2014-15.

One option to close the deficit is to draw down from the fund balance, which is like a savings account, Baker said.

The school board will vote on a final budget on June 23.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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