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Quaker Valley officials working to trim deficit

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Quaker Valley School District administrators continue to reduce a budget deficit for the 2013-14 school year, but time is running out.

Roughly a $192,000 difference remains before school leaders have a balanced $42 million budget, finance Director John Sheline said. School board members need to approve a final, balanced budget by June 30. A proposed final budget will be approved at the May 14 meeting.

School officials have said they are not going to raise the millage to balance the budget.

The Allegheny County reassessment appeals are compounding the district's financial problems, Sheline said.

Assessments initially were 45 percent higher across the 11 municipalities, he said. That number dropped to about 32 percent, with the district's overall valuation at about $1.1 billion.

“That's a dramatic drop from where we started,” Superintendent Joseph Clapper said.

Sheline said he expected that number to drop again next week when school leaders receive an updated assessment value from county leaders.

While school leaders say the millage will be lowered, the impact on homeowners will vary based on an individual's reassessment.

Homeowners who experienced an assessment increase lower than the average district increase will see a property tax bill reduction. Homeowners whose assessments increased more than the district average could see tax bills increase.

Staffing changes — including retirements — also have altered the budget, Sheline said.

The roughly $42 million budget includes a $451,500 increase for payment into the Public School Employees' Retirement System — known as PSERS, putting Quaker Valley's total to nearly $3.2 million.

Clapper said there have been “no cuts” of positions at this time.

“It has more to do with retirements,” he said. “If somebody retires, you hire somebody at a lower rate.”

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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