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Greater Latrobe board to consider tax hike

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The Greater Latrobe School Board will consider a tax increase at next week's regular meeting after a discussion at Tuesday night's agenda meeting.

Business administrator Daniel Watson outlined the district's $49.6 million spending plan for the 2013-14 school year. The budget includes an additional $1 million in expenditures for an increase in the district's contribution to state-mandated PSERS retirement fund.

Watson said about 40 percent of the increase in the district's PSERS contribution is being offset through early-retirement incentives for teachers and other spending cuts.

While taxpayers will see an increase, Watson said the “impact” will be about $26 annually for the average homeowner in the district.

One mill generates nearly $336,000, Watson said.

The proposed budget, Watson said, “is nearly identical to the one we discussed” at the board's May 28 meeting. He said he has not received any updates concerning additional education revenues from the state or federal governments.

In another matter, the $9.5 million athletic complex project remains on schedule. Hank Tkacik of Axis Architecture, and Kurt Thomas, clerk of the works, said progress has been steady and often has come at the mercy of the weather.

Thomas said stadium lighting has been installed and work on the artificial surface “is progressing.” He added that there are some change orders that will be required an increase in spending, but that those changes have been minimal and will be presented at the regular meeting June 25.

He added that construction “is progressing very rapidly.”

The project includes a multipurpose facility that includes two lighted artificial turf fields to replace the two non-lighted grass fields, along with a new field house with locker rooms, a weight room and meeting rooms, and resurfacing of the track.

In another matter, school lunches will increase by 10 cents. Jillian Meloy, food service director, said the federally mandated increase will set the price for school lunches at $2.10 for elementary students and $2.40 in the secondary. Breakfast prices will remain the same, Meloy said.

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