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Kiski lowers tax increase for most communities

| Thursday, June 14, 2012, 7:02 a.m.

Kiski Area School District officials have lowered the property-tax increase that most communities will realize in the 2012-13 school year budget.

Because Kiski Area crosses county lines, the change means a lower tax increase than expected in Westmoreland County and a larger tax cut in Armstrong County.

For the district's Westmoreland County communities, the tax increase has been lowered from 2.3 percent discussed earlier to about 1 percent.

In Parks Township, the district's only Armstrong County community, property owners would see a 3 percent reduction. That's up from an earlier projection of a 1.7 percent reduction.

The rates will become solid when the board votes on the tax rates and the district's $50.7 million spending plan on Wednesday.

Business Manager Peggy Gillespie said that after a number of adjustments, expected spending next school year has been lowered by about $220,000.

Still, spending for 2012-13 remains $400,0000 more than the $50.3 million budget passed last June for the 2011-12 school year that's just ending.

The district's revenue for 2012-13 is estimated to be about $47.7 million. The $3 million deficit would be covered from district reserves.

The district would have about $3.9 million in its reserves for the start of the 2013-14 school year, Gillespie said.

Smaller pay hikes coming

Agreements with technology services staff and confidential secretaries will provide pay increases lower than they have received in the past.

If approved next week, the three technology services staff members each would get annual pay increases of $1,500 for the next two years. Those increases have ranged between $2,100 and $2,300, Gillespie said.

Three confidential secretaries also would get $1,500 annual pay increases each for the next four years, down from $1,850, Gillespie said.

The employees also would have higher health care contributions. Details were not immediately available.

An amendment to an agreement covering administrators would set starting salaries for new hires based on experience and spell out how long it would take to reach the top of the salary scale.

Starting salaries now vary from candidate to candidate, based on negotiations, Superintendent John Meighan said.

If approved, the amendment would result in salary adjustments for some recently hired employees, Meighan said.

The effect would be to increase their pay for next school year, he said.

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