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Norwin officials still scraping for cost cuts

| Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A week before Norwin school directors approve a budget for the upcoming school year, they're still scouring the school's finances looking for ways to save.

As of now, school directors are poised to vote on a $61 million budget with a 0.65-mill property tax increase at their meeting June 19. The overall budget amount could change a bit, board President Robert Perkins said Monday.

Norwin business manager John Wilson told board members he expects to review the budget a final time this week, but two outstanding items remain out of his control.

“Obviously, we have no control over the state budget and the (legislation regarding) charter schools, but the other ones we'll take a look at,” Wilson said.

In May, the budget fell short $554,000, and Wilson has steadily cut that number through expected revenue from commercial real estate tax appeals, along with reduced dental insurance premiums because of a surplus. In addition, tuition to the county intermediate unit and local career and technology center turned out less than anticipated.

Wilson said he's still looking at interest earnings as a possible way to save about $30,000.

Board members discussed increasing facilities fees for non-school-related events or groups. Other districts have increased fees, Superintendent William Kerr said.

“Sometimes, getting the money out of the groups becomes an issue,” Kerr said. “The administration has been cracking down on getting monies that are due.”

Wilson compared Norwin's fees to those at other districts and said the school could stand to bring in an additional $20,000.

The district stands to save by eliminating some desktop printers in favor of copier machines, Wilson said. He asked for software that would limit users to a specific number of allowed pages to reduce usage.

In other business:

The board did not throw its support behind a proposed January trip to Disney World for students in the show choir and theatre club.

High school teachers Lauren McCurdy and Bridget Faulk presented the plan, which they said would include performance opportunities for about 60 students. Students would miss three days of school and would fundraise to cover costs.

Some board members said they don't want students to miss school days.

“This is a selected trip that could be scheduled in June,” board member Barbara Viola said. “I think all the trips … if they can be taken outside of the school year, then they should be.”

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or rskena@tribweb.com.

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