Greater Latrobe agrees to cap on possible tax hike
While the Greater Latrobe school district awaits state funding announcements, officials say they feel confident enough to stay within the state-mandated inflation index.
The school board approved a resolution during its meeting on Tuesday night to remain within the index of 2.7 percent for 2014-15 set by the state Department of Education.
Business administrator Dan Watson presented early budget numbers to the board last week, reporting that state retirement benefits are projected to account for half of the overall budget increases for next year, some of which will be reimbursed.
He said he will have a better idea by May if any property tax increase is necessary for the next school year, beginning with Gov. Tom Corbett's initial announcements in February.
“We're happy with our preliminary numbers right now,” Watson said. “There's more to come, way too early to tell.”
Superintendent Judith Swigart said staff and school board members have done well in accounting for those obligations.
“The fact that we're able to approve the motion to stay within the index, I think, is indicative of the hard work that the district has done to really try to curb expenses and increase revenues,” she said.
School board member Kathryn Elder said officials consider other long-term expenses, such as capital improvements, along with the state retirement contributions.
The index is calculated by averaging the percent increases in statewide average weekly wages and the federal employment cost index for elementary and secondary schools, according to the state Department of Education website.
School districts can request changes to the index with requests for exceptions or voter referendums.
“I would be very happy if we were able to stay below the index,” said Elder, head of the finance committee. “It's good to see the economy of the state recovering so the index gives us a little more breathing room.”
In other business, the board approved the inclusion of electronic cigarettes in the list of prohibited tobacco products on school property.
Elder said the Pennsylvania School Boards Association recommended the addition to the policy, which she hopes can further discourage tobacco use among students.
“You need to have a policy before it's a problem, because if you wait until it's a problem, then that problem shades what you're going to adopt as the policy,” she said.
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Corbett rips Wolf tax proposals during Hempfield campaign stop
- Laurel Mountain ski plan needs more information, planners say
- Ligonier Township wants more info on cell tower proposal
- Ligonier Township zoning officer resigns
- Rostraver woman, 91, injured in home invasion; 3 sought
- Make A Difference Day is Saturday
- Former Penn-Trafford student put on house arrest for drug sales
- Latrobe Municipal Authority appeals DEP order
- House 58th District seat candidates focus on education, taxes
- One-day lane restrictions set on Route 30 in North Huntingdon
- Line painting planned in Penn Township