TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods

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

Not replacing teachers could save Gateway cash

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.

By Kyle Lawson
Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Gateway School District leaders may eliminate four teaching jobs vacated through retirements to save money for 2013-14.

Board members on Monday discussed the cost-saving measure as an alternative to using $353,000 from the district's emergency fund to balance budget. The board must adopt a new spending plan by June 30.

School Directors Jan Rawson and Dave Magill said the $353,000 should be used to reduce a proposed 2 percent tax increase. Business and homeowners could see the sixth tax increase over the last 11 years, officials said.

“You raised taxes last year, you're raising taxes this year, you'll probably have to raise them again next year … people are just going to say enough's enough,” Magill said.

If officials pull $353,000 from the emergency fund, it would leave about $8 million in the fund, which is 12 percent of the $67.8 million budget. Financial experts recommend an emergency fund balance of between 5 and 15 percent of the total budget.

Board member Oliver “Skip” Drumheller said a tax increase would be a good move to strengthen the district's curriculum.

“This year, the tax rise would put us in a position to be strong over the next several years, so it's an investment” Drumheller said. “We have a plan that's been vetted over the last six months.”

The tax increase was projected to generate about $876,000, as of two weeks ago, based on the overall property value for homes in the district. That value continues to drop as property owners file appeals on their 2012 reassessments, said district Business Director Paul Schott.

The proposed tax hike would represent an annual increase of $39 for a home valued at $107,900, which is the average property assessment in Monroeville as of two weeks ago.

It would represent a $13 annual increase for a home valued at $35,200, which was the average assessment in Pitcairn as of two weeks ago.

Drumheller backed the first of a three–step technology plan that would cost about $950,000 this year. Drumheller said the interest rates are low and the time is right to invest in new technology.

Rawson said business owners scouting new locations will search outside of Monroeville because of the tax increase.

“And the ones that are here are going to have to move out, so where are we doing the community any good?” Rawson said.

Board Vice President Jim Capell said he doubts businesses will move out.

“I don't think that this small increase is going to make that much of a difference,” Capell said.

Magill suggested the three-year technology plan be stretched over a six-year period to ease the burden on taxpayers.

In addition to a proposed 2-percent tax increase, school officials also proposed to eliminate 18 lunch room aides to balance the budget. It would leave one aide per elementary school. Teachers and school officials would rotate in and out of the cafeteria during lunch periods, Personnel Director Bob Reger said.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Monroeville

  1. Intended demolition of homes draws questions in Pitcairn