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Uniontown School District operating with $4.1 million fund balance

| Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 8:35 p.m.

The Uniontown Area School Board on Monday approved the 2012 audit report prepared by McClure & Wolf, which shows the district is operating with a $4.1 million fund balance.

Superintendent Charles Machesky said the district has made a significant improvement in its finances.

Machesky said the school district was operating with a $3.5 million deficit three years ago.

“The district has made a huge turnaround,” he said. “We have a very bright financial future right now. This is the best audit the school district has ever had.”

Machesky said the district turned around its financial situation by not replacing teachers who recently retired. Administrators and teachers also agreed to wage freezes.

Machesky also credited newly hired business manager Brent Filak with helping to get the school district on the right track.

“The teachers, administrators and board members worked together to make this happen,” he said. “The new business manager has really done a great job for the school district.”

Machesky said the school district had lost $2.2 million in funding provided through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, or ARRA, and although the district's financial future appears bright, he is concerned about the proposed increases in state pension funds.

“A lot of things are looming that could change the school district's finances,” he said. “Pension funds are expected to increase 12 percent this year and an additional 16 percent next year.”

Machesky said it is amazing the district is in such excellent financial shape when it recently completed a $60 million construction project at the senior high school and Ben Franklin and Lafayette middle schools.

The district currently has $2.1 million in its capital improvement fund from the original bond money for the project.

School board member Philip Holt said the district plans to make improvements to Marclay and Franklin elementary schools with the leftover money.

“There is absolutely no truth to the rumors that the district plans to close the elementary schools in the mountains,” Holt said. “We plan to fix up those schools.”

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.

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