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To keep options open, Franklin Regional school board takes early budget route

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 10:09 p.m.

For the third consecutive year, Franklin Regional officials have not agreed to keep any tax increase to within the state-mandated limit.

School officials are required to adopt an Act 1 resolution — an agreement that the district won't raise the tax rate beyond a state-set amount — by Jan. 31. Instead, Franklin Regional school board members opted to advertise a preliminary budget, which will be adopted in February.

That move enables the district to apply for exceptions to Act 1 for the third consecutive year.

Under state regulations, Franklin Regional is permitted to raise the tax rate by 1.75 mills, which would generate $586,250 in additional annual revenue.

Early drafts of the district's 2013-14 budget shows a $1.9 million deficit, mostly attributed to increases in required retirement contributions. However, that budget will change in the coming weeks, said Jon Perry, director of finance.

Air conditioning project moves along

During Monday's meeting, the school board hired Reynolds Consulting of Harrisburg to design and oversee a multimillion dollar heating, ventilating and air conditioning replacement at the Middle School.

The firm will be paid $148,784 to oversee the project, which includes replacing 19 roof top air conditioning units that are 42 years old.

Dennis Majewski, director of district services, said that the new system will save the district about $60,000 annually in electric and gas usage once it is in place.

The project, which is expected to cost between $2.5 and 3 million, will be completed during the next three summers, Majewski said.

Two emergencyprojects approved

Two unexpected situations required the district to spend about $15,000 on capital improvements this month.

A hot water boiler at the middle school that heats the district pool began malfunctioning in November.

If not replaced, the tubes in the boiler will become so thin that water could break through, Majewski said.

The new boiler will cost the district $9,429.

A dishwasher-sanitizer at the high school that is used in the food and consumer science program has a bad water pump, Majewski said. The machine is 20 years old and parts are no longer available.

The machine will cost the district about $6,000.

Majewski said the money for both pieces of equipment will be taken from a fund set aside for unexpected replacements.

After the two purchases, the fund will have about $5,000 remaining.

Donations

Franklin Regional accepted more than $2,800 in donations in January.

Among the donations are $305.50 for the Fund-A-Meal program, a $1,500 donation to Heritage Library and two $500 grants for teachers. Middle School teachers Margi Ritson and Suzi Almgren each received a Make Activities Count grant from McDonald's.

Personnel

The school board on Monday approved several personnel moves. They include:

• Julie Gebrosky will serve as a long-term substitute gifted teacher at her current salary.

• Stephen Flory will serve as a long-term substitute elementary music teacher from Jan. 7 through April 16.

• Kari O'Brien, a kindergarten teacher at Sloan, will take a qualifying leave of absence for the second semester.

• David Jozwiak will serve as a long-term substitute kindergarten teacher at Sloan for the second semester.

• Alyssa Cappetta, Andrew Estok, Jessica Habich, Terese Marszalek, Kourie Ofcansky, Nichole Poli, Kristy Robertson, Bradd Saltzgiver, Gabrielle Soxman and Katrina Spirko will serve as substitute elementary teachers.

• Janine Jasinski, Snezana Lazich, Maria Minichiello, Kasara Nee, Michael Nepsa, Abbi Novic, Hannah White and Steven Saunders will serve as substitute secondary teachers.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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