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Greensburg Salem OKs budget with 1.25-mill tax hike

| Thursday, June 26, 2014, 12:39 a.m.

Lengthy debate led to last-minute budget cuts by the Greensburg Salem school board Wednesday night, resulting in a final budget that will raise property taxes by 1.25 mills, instead of the 1.5 mills that was originally brought to the table.

The final $41.74 million budget was reached by cutting a vacant associate principal position at the high school. This position was vacated earlier this year by Lisa Hauswirth, who was promoted last year to acting director of student and district services. Instead of filling the position, the district will instead replace it with a dean, who will teach a class half time and receive smaller compensation.

The board originally met to vote on a $41.82 million budget, which would have raised property taxes by 1.5 mills.

This was voted down 4-5. The board then went into a lengthy executive session behind closed doors and emerged to vote on the new budget with little public discussion. This passed 5-3.

Board member Stephen Thomas was attending the meeting by phone. He voted in favor of the original budget but his connection was lost before the second vote.

Even this failed budget was not the first proposed by the school. Administrators last week cut $378,000 from a budget that would have raised taxes by 1.75 mills.

The approved $41.74 million budget will be covered by about $40.78 million in revenue, with the remaining money coming from the district's fund balance. The total millage is 82.46.

β€œIt was a very, very difficult budget year,” said Superintendent Eileen Amato, who attributed much of the rising costs to government-mandated expenses, such as retirement costs.

β€œI think the board did a very good job of trying to meet the needs of the students with the money we have.”

Jacob Tierney is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6646 or jtierney@tribweb.com.

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