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Quaker Valley officials whittle away at budget shortfall

| Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Quaker Valley School District's preliminary budget of nearly $44 million for 2014-15 showed a deficit of about $1.1 million, but school leaders say the shortfall has been pared down to about $924,000.

“Approval of the preliminary budget is perfunctory in nature and reflects a starting point of the district's budget deliberations,” Superintendent Joseph Clapper said. “Since the preliminary budget was drafted in mid-January, new information has been received that has affected expenditure projections.”

Quaker Valley School Board members approved the preliminary budget last week.

Because Quaker Valley approved a preliminary budget, district leaders can opt to file for exceptions to the Act 1 index limit, based on state law. That means, based on preliminary budget numbers, Quaker Valley's property tax rate could increase from 16.93 mills to 17.531.

“We will continue to work diligently through the final budget adoption later this spring,” Clapper said.

Based on a proposed budget from Gov. Tom Corbett, Quaker Valley leaders say the district could receive nearly $1.2 million in basic education funding — the same as last year.

Special education funding would remain the same — at more than $787,000. Special education funding for Quaker Valley has not increased since the 2008-09 school year.

An accountability block grant and Ready to Learn funding could increase by nearly $70,000, to more than $91,000.

Originally set to increase by 4.5 percent, the district's contribution to the state Public School Employees' Retirement System — known as PSERS — now could increase by 2.25 percent — to 19.18 percent of the district's payroll. That proposal could save the district $205,000, leaders say.

Quaker Valley could spend more than $820,934 next school year to help fund the PSERS system.

District leaders say salaries among Quaker Valley employees are down 0.65 percent.

The preliminary budget can be viewed on the district's website at www.qvsd.org or by visiting the Quaker Valley administration offices, 100 Leetsdale Industrial Drive, Leetsdale.

The school board is expected to vote on a proposed final budget on April 8, and on a final budget on May 20.

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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