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Ligonier Valley school board holds line on taxes

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 12:52 a.m.

The Ligonier Valley School Board this week unveiled a preliminary draft of its budget for the 2013-14 school year that maintains real estate taxes at the current rate while cutting expenses.

Ligonier Valley projects total expenditures of $26,456,633 for the next school year, with revenues of $26,597,707, a decrease from the current budget of $26.6 million, Superintendent Christine Oldham said after the school board meeting Monday. The district will keep property taxes at 75 mills, after increasing taxes by 2 mills for the current school year.

While the district has cut expenditures in recent years, Oldham said she does not anticipate making further large reductions.

“We are at a point where there are not large-ticket items to cut,” Oldham said.

The preliminary budget is based on Ligonier Valley getting the same amount of money – $5.46 million – in state subsidies for 2013-14 as it did this school year, Oldham said.

The school district is projected to end the 2013-14 school year with a $141,000 surplus, said Donald Irwin, district business manager.

Ligonier Valley is benefitting from an increase in its residents' wealth, as well as a higher number of residents who are filing taxes, Irwin said.

After cutting teaching and administrative positions for two years, the district will likely reduce the teaching staff by two positions in the elementary grades, Oldham said. Class size in the elementary grades will not be impacted, she said.

The school board will receive an update of the budget in January, Oldham said. The board anticipates adopting a preliminary budget in May and approve a final budget by June 30.

In other business, the district received a clean report on the audit of its 2011-12 school year finances, said Jared Mishler, a manager for Wessel & Co., a Johnstown accounting firm.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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