Not replacing teachers could save Gateway cash
By Kyle Lawson
Published: 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 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.
- Voters to decide on library tax in Monroeville
- Pitcairn considers options for Fire Company No. 1
- Internal review board clears Monroeville officer in shooting; DA investigation ongoing