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No tax hike planned in East Allegheny

| Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 4:11 a.m.

East Allegheny school board on Monday approved a proposed 2013-14 budget that holds the line on taxes.

The $31,660,911 spending plan would be $1.3 million higher than fiscal year 2012-13's $30,316,657 plan, but remains based on a 27.54-mill rate, with each mill netting about $462,000.

“It's a very tight budget,” school director Frederick Miller said. “The district has financial issues and is trying to deal with them.”

Business manager Toni Valicenti said health care costs are projected to rise 5 percent, and pension costs will double to 16 percent of the total budget. She said $2.6 million will be paid in tuition to charter schools, including several Propels.

Pending a final vote on June 10, the budget continues all Act 511 taxes, including a 0.5 percent earned income tax, and furthers a tax installment payment plan approved in 2009.

The board renewed its agreement with Nutrition Group of West Newton for cafeteria service. The $880,942.71 agreement guarantees $20,026.48 for the district but includes a 10-cent increase in the price of a school lunch.

Directors approved Huntington Bank as depository and provider of a $1.2 million tax anticipation loan at a 2.5 percent interest rate. They approved a $6.7 million budget for Forbes Road Career & Technology Center, with East Allegheny's obligation $485,000.

The board entered a three-year, $72,000 agreement with UPMC Sports Medicine for athletic training services and approved paying a $237.50 curriculum consultant fee to Educational Consulting Services Inc.

The district will enter talks with the Fire Department of North Versailles about the possible sale of part of the old Park Terrace School site.

In a letter to the board, fire Chief Jeff McNeill told directors that the department is looking to acquire property to build a new centralized operation.

“We would not need any of the surrounding structures or land, such as the bus garage, the concession stand or Park Terrace Field,” McNeill wrote.

The board approved participation by the high school marching band in community Memorial Day services on May 27 and the Wilmerding Community Days Parade on June 5 at 6:30 p.m.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-664-9161 ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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