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Allegheny Valley to leave Colfax open for another year

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 7:11 a.m.

Springdale's Colfax Upper Elementary School will remain open for at least next school year.

The Allegheny Valley School Board and administration have been exploring the possibility of closing the school and sending sixth-graders to the junior-senior high school and fourth- and fifth-graders to the Acmetonia Primary School in Harmar.

Meetings with parents have recently taken place and the school district offered parents and residents a tour at the junior-senior high school Monday night. A similar walk-through of Acmetonia is scheduled for this coming Monday at 6 p.m.

School board President Larry Pollick said the district is “gathering information” and the district is “looking into” closing Colfax.

“No definite decision has been made,” Pollick said. “We're weighing all possibilities.”

Pollick added the school district hopes to make a final decision by the end of summer.

Budget vote

The school board on Monday is expected to pass a final, $19.6 million budget for next school year.

The school district will set the real estate millage rate at that time.

The tax rate has been in a state of flux since Allegheny County reassessed properties last year and a considerable number of property owners have been successful in challenging new, higher property values.

Allegheny Valley officials hope to pinpoint a tax rate that would be “revenue neutral,” meaning that, overall, the district would collect about the same amount of real estate tax money as this school year.

The current real estate tax rate is 23.46 mills.

The proposed rate for next school year is 19.9494 mills as of Tuesday night.

“We've taken this out to four decimals in trying to get a revenue neutral rate,” said district Business Manager Brad Rau.

The board also on Monday is expected to approve a $128.93 homestead/farmstead tax reduction per average property owner in the school district.

The rebated money is obtained for longtime homeowners from casino gambling revenues throughout the state.

New custodial contract

The school board on Tuesday night agreed to a new, three-year agreement with the district's custodial/maintenance employees, members of the Service Employees International Union Local 32.

The contract goes through June 30, 2016.

Employees will receive a 2.5 percent wage increase in the first year, and 2.25 percent for the last two years of the pact.

Employees will also pay 4 percent, 5 percent and 6 percent of their health care premiums for each year of the contract.

Several district officials did not immediately know what the average employee wage will be over the life of the contract.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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