Hempfield budget still tenuous
The budget numbers for the 2013-14 school year in the Hempfield Area School District sound worse than they are, said business manager Jude Abraham.
The district is looking at a 1.5-mill tax hike, increases in pension contributions and health care premiums, and a potential budget deficit of $4 million, he said.
“I can say we are on track where we want to be,” Abraham told the board on Monday. “I feel we're better off this year than last. We're definitely moving in the right direction.”
By the time the preliminary budget is ready, Abraham said, the district can reduce the deficit to $2.2 million with several potential cost-saving measures that include the closing of an elementary school and elimination of an educational program.
According to preliminary figures, Hempfield's budget has projected revenue of $81.3 million and expenditures of $85.3 million. The current budget is $80.2 million.
The tax increase will generate an additional $900,000 in revenue. Last year, the state Legislature increased the district's basic education subsidy by $290,000. If that figure is reduced this year, Abraham said, “we're going back to the drawing board.”
Wage increases will be modest, $36.6 million to $40 million, he said. Pensions and health care will increase from $16.8 million to $18.7 million. Contributions to the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System are increasing by 4.5 percent to nearly 17 percent. Abraham said that without those increases, “we'd be in very good shape.”
The school board hopes to save $1 million with the closing of Bovard Elementary School next year and $400,000 with the elimination of Crossroads, an alternative education program within the district. Depending on the number of retirements, Abraham estimates the district could save $350,000 in salaries, benefits and pensions.
Abraham said there are “unhealthy trends” dogging the district.
Hempfield will receive less transportation reimbursement because the district is running fewer bus routes, and investment income has dropped from a peak of $600,000 a year to $38,000, he said.
“Our investment income is almost nothing. It's just horrible.”
Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Westmoreland County Fair doubles as meet-and-greet for candidates
- ‘Perfect’ skies draw big crowds to Westmoreland Fair
- Children honor late Ligonier Township officer at Westmoreland Fair
- Man gets probation for sex with teen girl in New Kensington
- Greensburg man charged with terroristic threats
- Prison sentence extended for New Kensington man
- Ligonier Township equine facility breaks ground
- Franklin Regional stabbing suspect Hribal to head to adult prison after Oct. 1
- WCCC to hold faculty, staff salaries flat in contracts
- Newly completed buildings point to Seton Hill’s growth trend
- 10-year-old Blairsville violinist’s expulsion over knife challenged