Burrell School Board will seek ways to trim $430,000 from budget for 2014-15
When Burrell School Board members consider a preliminary 2014-15 budget next month, they will be looking at a $430,000 deficit. Maybe.
As presented by Business Manager Jennifer Callahan, the proposed $27.9 million spending plan on paper fell short of revenue.
However, Callahan said there are variables that could cut away at the deficit — and a possible property tax increase.
She is recommending the board pull $100,000 from a pool of money previous boards committed to softening the expected blow of sharply rising retirement contributions.
School districts next year will be asked to contribute an amount equivalent to 21.4 percent of wages to employee pensions, up from 16.9 percent this year. For Burrell, that will be an additional $600,000, half of which is reimbursed by the state.
The rate will continue to increase to more than 30 percent by the 2018-19 school year before leveling off, Callahan said.
Callahan said the district has nearly $2 million socked away specifically to deal with those pension increases, and she's recommending they start tapping that fund next year.
Aside from retirement costs, Callahan said employee salaries account for the other major factor contributing to cost increases next year. She estimated salary costs will climb by $340,000, or almost 3 percent.
Callahan said the retirements of three employees, two teachers and a clerical worker, will result in some savings, especially because the clerical worker will not be replaced.
Superintendent Shannon Wagner said the teaching spots will be filled, though not necessarily in the same department in which the retirements occurred. Rather than replacing a high school physical education teacher, she recommends hiring a science teacher; a middle school home economics teaching position will be moved to the high school.
Overall, the district is projected to spend about $910,000, or about 3.4 percent, more than the current year.
Callahan said the district can raise property taxes by a maximum of 2.4 mills, or about 2.8 percent. The current millage rate is 87.2 mills; one mill in taxes generates about $150,000 for the district.
Callahan has not made a recommendation to raise taxes. She is awaiting better estimates for special education, transportation and insurance costs for next year.
The district also is waiting to learn more about $250,000 in state Ready to Learn grant money that potentially could further reduce the gap.
The budget proposes to use $800,000 from reserve funds to cover technology upgrades, curriculum purchases, development of online courses and a transfer to the capital reserve fund.
The district would have about $2 million remaining in its reserve funds by June 2015, which is about 7 percent of operating expenses and is in line with recommended accounting practices.
Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fawn man accused in assault sentenced to probation
- Arnold family back home after gas leak
- Mia Z voices no regrets after failing to advance on NBC show
- West Deer burglary suspect arrested
- Washington Township awards $244,000 street-paving contract
- Kiski Area students reach out to community for Global Youth Service Day
- Lower Burrell to open Leechburg Road possibilities
- Teen girls to get all done up for free in prom prep day
- Bridge replacement projects set to start in Fawn, O’Hara
- Retired New Kensington attorney Robert McVey spent life helping people
- Copper wire stolen from West Penn Power substation in Lower Burrell