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Clairton school board OKs budget, lowers millage rate

| Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 12:56 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
The 12th Annual 'Friends of Jimmy' Golf Tournament is Saturday at 8 a.m. at Manor Valley Golf Course in Export. The golf tournament is a fundraiser for the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Christmas toy drive. The event is in memory of the late Jimmy McAraw, who passed away tragically one month prior to his 40th birthday on June 24, 2000. To date, the 'Friends of Jimmy' fund has raised more than $55,000. Each year the charity purchases toys from local stores and holds a celebration event at the PNA Lodge No. 352 in McKeesport during the first week of December. This year 120 golfers are expected to participate. Preparing for the event are Spanky McAraw, Dolly McAraw and Ray McAraw. For information call Spanky McAraw at 412-853-9871.

Clairton City School District residents will see a reduction in their real estate tax rates, but may pay a higher bill because of Allegheny County reassessments.

School directors approved a final budget at Tuesday night's meeting in an 8-0 vote. School director Sue Wessel was absent.

The millage rate was set at 75 mills for land and 7 mills for buildings. It reflects reductions of 5 mills for land from the current 80-mill rate, and a .5 mill decrease from the current 7.5-mill rate on buildings.

District business manager Chuck Lanna said earlier this year that residents should focus on their property assessments and not just the millage rate when it comes to factoring their tax bills.

The total assessed value of the district's 5,000-plus taxable properties went up roughly 23 percent.

Revenue is listed at $14,196,146, and expenses at $14,490,407 leaving a $294,261 deficit.

Lanna said the district is pulling that amount from the roughly $526,000 unreserved fund balance.

Revenue includes $3,917,245 locally, $9,503,901 from the state, and $775,000 in federal funds.

Expenses include $6,132,988 for salaries, $3,167,672 for benefits, $2,464,320 for administration, $187,677 for a federal programs coordinator, $1,200,000 for special education, $90,500 for elementary, $114,250 for secondary, $102,000 for technology, $120,000 for security, $851,000 for facilities and $60,000 for athletics.

School board president Richard Livingston said the district prepared the budget using the best figures it could get from the county.

“We've structured the budget so that the district would not be refunding all kinds of money at the end,” Livingston said. “We anticipated that we're not going to win every (assessment) appeal.”

District officials worked with budget drafts in January, March, April and May before coming to the final spending plan. No services are cut.

“I think it's a budget that reflects the financial circumstances in the district,” Livingston said. “The board had to make careful choices. As you noticed we have new hires in the budget. We were able to do that this year and offer our students another program. We're probably the only school district in the Mon Valley that's providing that help for our students in the high school.”

Hiring approved Tuesday night included Michael Linnert as a physical education and middle level mathematics teacher, Renee Worst as a secondary English teacher, Anthony Hritz as a secondary social studies teacher, Kristan Spencer as an elementary 180-day substitute teacher and Melba Callaway as a certified nurse assistant.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or

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