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Southmoreland officials continue work on budget

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Southmoreland School District officials are continuing to work on the budget for the 2013-2014 school year with an eye on reducing a potential deficit.

Progress has been made in that area.

Interim business Manager Bill McNamee said at Thursday's meeting of the school board that the potential deficit has already been reduced from $1.6 million to $1.2 million.

“With the governor's proposed numbers coming out and some cost-cutting measures we have looked at, we were able to get it to $1.2 million,” McNamee said. “In the upcoming weeks, we will be meeting with staff to pare that down even more.”

Further reductions could come in the form of early retirement incentives, which were approved by the board at its Feb. 14 meeting.

Six district teachers are eligible to take the incentives of $10,500 for six years.

The teachers have until March 15 to decide on whether or not they will accept the off of an early retirement incentive.

A public meeting on the budget will be held at 7 p.m. March 21.

The board did vote Jan. 10 that any tax increase that might be imposed would not exceed 2.4 percent of the district's current millage rate.

The school district is continuing its search for a permanent, full-time business manager.

A replacement is needed for Bill Salem, who resigned from the position. That move was accepted by school directors at their Jan. 10 meeting. Salem had been in the position for about 18 months.

The Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials is aiding in the search for a new business manager. Superintendent John Molnar said representation from that group would like to meet with school directors in April to discuss the matter.

“It's going, but we're trying to move slowly, deliberately,” Molnar said. “We want to get it right.”

The board also is expected to vote on a calendar for the 2013-2014 school year when it meets tonight.

The proposed calendar calls for the first Act 80 day for the school year to take place Aug. 21, with classes beginning Aug. 26.

The last day of classes would be May 30, with teachers completing their school year June 3.

One item that may be switched is when the first weather makeup day would be scheduled.

The current calendar calls for the first makeup day to be May 21 (which will be used after Wednesday's cancellation) and the second being April 2.

There was some discussion concerning switching those two this year, but it will not be on the agenda tonight. April 2 is the Tuesday after Easter and there was some sentiment not to change the days because some students may have plans to be away with family for a long Easter weekend.

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or ppaterra@tribweb.com.

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