Staff cuts may help Penn Hills SD balance budget
By pushing some of its debt further down the road and cutting staff, Penn Hills School District officials say they can balance the 2013-14 budget.
Business Director Richard Liberto recommended a budget at the May 20 finance committee meeting which projected a $400,000 surplus.
The budget includes 17 teacher furloughs and pushes some of the district's debt into the future.
Liberto's recommendation was a mix of staff cuts and debt restructuring which would balance a $5 million budget deficit.
Proposed staffing reductions include 17 teacher furloughs, four teacher retirements where positions would go unfilled and the elimination of:
• Four administrative positions
• Five service aides
• Four clerical positions
• Eight teacher aides
• Four technology aides
In all, 46 positions would be eliminated.
Liberto noted, however, that he felt the furlough number was “probably a little inflated,” saying some teachers, particularly in kindergarten, likely would be recalled based on next year's enrollment numbers.
Liberto also proposed a “scoop-and-toss” approach to the district's debt service, restructuring it and shifting about $2.3 million into future payments.
At present, the district is scheduled to pay down about $7.5 million in debt service next year.
“I know we're sort of kicking the can down the road (with regard to district debt), but we've fixed everything that is in our control to fix,” Liberto told the finance committee.
Restructuring the 2009 debt would be a one-year fix, Liberto said.
The budget in recent years has been balanced with several one-time fixes.
Last year the district sold off twice its usual amount of tax-delinquent real estate to plug a $2 million gap in the 2012-13 budget.
Taking that measure last year added about $1 million to the current budget deficit.
There is no tax increase proposed; in fact, the school district's millage technically dropped, from 24.81 mills to 23.39 mills.
However, that is an adjustment because of the 2013 Allegheny County property reassessments.
The school board will meet today to take a preliminary vote on the budget.
The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Linton Middle School, located at 250 Aster St.
A final budget vote will take place at the June 10 board meeting, and Liberto told the finance committee that if changes occur to either state or federal funding, the board has the option to call a special meeting to vote on an adjusted budget.
The district must adopt a final, balanced budget by June 30.
Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 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.
- Penn Hills boy who drowned remains an inspiration to parents
- Department of Education to give Penn Hills money toward first school police officer