No tax increase planned for CASD property owners
Using more than $1.5 million of its fund balance, Connellsville Area School Board Thursday passed a 2013-14 budget. The budget allows real-estate taxes to remain unchanged from 2013-14.
Before agreeing to balance the budget by taking $1,666,900 from the fund balance, revenues were approved at $65,603,300 and expenditures at $67,270,200.
The district's fund balance will now stand at $5,856,638.
Business Manager Eugene Cunningham said the fund balance has been decreasing for the last three years, since the district has been using it each year to help balance the budget.
“We'd like to see that trend change,” he said.
Cunningham explained money has been taken from the fund balance in recent years because of almost $4 million a year in funding that continues to be cut from state and federal allocations.
During public comment, Bryan Kiesel, a CPA, said the board “has a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer to safeguard the district's assets and provide the best academic preparation for our students.
“The argument that the board doesn't know what funding will be from year to year is a foolish argument offered as an excuse for not understanding how to manage a $70-million business,” he added. “What business has a crystal ball to know what its sales will be from year to year? Yet millions of businesses develop their business plans to control their financial destiny.”
No board members commented on the budget.
As part of the budget process, a motion passed to set the millage rate at 12.60 mills, the same as this past fiscal year, per $100 of assessed valuation of real estate.
In other finance business, directors accepted the workers compensation insurance policy from Highmark Casualty Insurance Company at a savings of more than $6,000 from last year's policy and the district's excess liability insurance policy with Old Republic Insurance Company at a savings of almost $500 from last year's policy.
The board approved the errors and omissions insurance participation agreement for the PSBA Insurance Trust's School Leaders: Legal Liability Risk Management Program at an increase of $4,400, as well as the district's Property/Casualty Insurance Policy with PSBA/ACE USA at an increase of $11,120.
Directors adopted the 2013-14 Connellsville Area Career and Technical Center Budget with revenues and expenditures balanced at $3,837,100.
Under personnel and review, a motion passed to extend contracts for JROTC instructors Ulysses R. Winn and Chief Joseph M. Cordier from July 1 of this year to June 30, 2014.
July's regular board meeting has been canceled.
Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.