TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Kiski Area School District programs feel effect of federal spending cuts

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 12:26 a.m.
 

Automatic funding cuts caused by the failure to reach a federal budget compromise are affecting Kiski Area School District.

District Business Manager Peggy Gillespie said Monday there are three areas where the district will be receiving less money than it should because of the cuts, also referred to as the federal sequestration. Those areas are Title I, special education funding through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and school construction through the Build America Bonds program. The program provides state and local governments with a new, direct federal payment subsidy for a portion of their borrowing costs on taxable bonds.

Overall, Gillespie said it appears the district will receive $104,000 less than anticipated through the three programs.

That is not good news for the district, which is looking at $52 million in expenditures, at least initially, while projecting $49 million in revenues.Gillespie said that some figures on the preliminary budget will change by the time she presents it at next week's board meeting.

“I fully expect to bring you a budget that is less than $52 million,” Gillespie told the district's finance committee.

“Looking into your crystal ball, how much less?” board member Robert Keibler asked.

“Not $3 million,” Gillespie replied.

The shortfall will be covered by the district's fund balance and will not result in a tax increase, she said.

“Our reserves are healthy,” Gillespie said. “We have over 8 percent in our unreserved fund.”

“We cannot raise taxes because we are over 8 percent in our fund balance,” committee chairman David Anderson said.

“It (the surplus) will deplete, but we are not at critical mass yet,” Superintendent John Meighan said.

Gillespie said the biggest increase in the budget is for retirement costs at about $900,000. Salaries will increase by $185,000 while health care costs will rise by only $50,000. Also, curriculum and textbooks expenditures will rise by $391,000 and technology equipment costs will add $129,000.

She said the technology equipment is badly needed as the district had cut allocations for that in the past few years.

There will be some savings in a reduction in staff, but none of it will be realized through furloughs, Gillespie said. She said there are 11 teachers and one clerical staff person retiring. The clerical position and four of the teaching positions will not be filled.On the positive side of the ledger sheet, Gillespie said district revenues have risen by $891,000. That includes a Forbes Road Vo-Tech refund of $191,000, a special education refund of $223,000 from the Intermediate Unit and $101,000 from the federal E-Rate program that subsidizes Internet access for schools. There is also an additional $248,000 in the state basic education subsidy, bringing the district's total to $15.2 million.

The remaining additional revenue is from increased wage tax collections and additional real estate and real estate transfer taxes through growth in the local real estate market, Gillespie said.

Board votes to close Washington Elementary

The board unanimously voted to follow through on the district's plan to close Washington Elementary School.

Fifth- and sixth-graders from Washington and also Bell-Avon Elementary, which also is targeted for closing under the plan, will attend the expanded and renovated North Washington Elementary School.

Children in the lower grades will ultimately attend school at Vandergrift Elementary which is scheduled for renovation as well.

There were no objections from only a handful of residents who attended the public hearing Monday. Most of the board members who spoke said they believed that closing the school is the right decision.

A hearing on the closing of Bell-Avon will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the administrative center at 250 Hyde Park Road, Allegheny Township.

Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or tyerace@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read AlleKiski Valley

  1. Child pornography videos tied to Winfield man
  2. Mt. St. Peter draws crowds with 34th annual Festa Italiana
  3. Winfield supervisors OK natural gas-drilling regulations
  4. ATI reveals details of contract offer to steelworkers union
  5. South Butler superintendent heads home for Mohawk job
  6. USW rallies in support of ATI, other steel companies’ employees
  7. Avonmore mayor to resign after being charged with theft
  8. Surveillance video shows Fawn tire shop burglar
  9. HBO to end ‘Banshee’ series, disappointing Vandergrift
  10. Multiple delays to slow travel between Alle-Kiski Valley, Greensburg
  11. Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley offers free services at clinic