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Southmoreland passes 2011-12 budget with no tax increase

Southmoreland School Board adopted a 2011-12 budget with no tax increase planned for residents in Westmoreland and Fayette counties. Director Catherine Fike voted against the budget plan.

The budget proposed anticipates expenditures of $26,282,695 and revenues of $24,208,164. Directors opted to use $2,074,531 of the district's fund balance to balance the budget. This would set millage at 69.4 mills for Westmoreland County and 14.0 mills for Fayette County.

Business Manager Bill Porter said it has been seven years since the district voted for a tax increase and out of all 17 districts in Westmoreland County, Southmoreland is operating on the third lowest millage rate, with just Norwin and Monessen behind them.

He added that Franklin Regional is at the top of the list with a millage rate in the high 80s.

In other business, the board named Susan Dye, Porter's current secretary, as the interim board treasurer for the 2011-12 school year or until a business manager has been appointed.

Porter is scheduled to retire on June 30.

The board last night agreed to contract with Porter to help close out the financials for this fiscal year at a per diem rate of $480.03 a day until Sept. 30.

Along with that the board agreed to hire Cherlyn Stankiewicz as a contract employee at a rate of $20.25 an hour on a part-time basis to help train business office personnel and help Porter close out the fiscal year.

Directors also approved Walter Mizwa of Monongahela as the working physical plant operator, which is also the district maintenance supervisor, for a four-year term at 90 percent of the base salary of $57,962, which would be $52,165.

The second year of the contract he would receive 92 percent of the base salary, the third year he will receive 94 percent of the base salary and the fourth year he will receive 96 percent of the base salary.

Mizwa is taking over the maintenance supervisor position that was left open when Ken Millslagle resigned.

Director Mike Bentz voted against the motion and directors Josie Kauffman and Gail Rhodes abstained from voting.

Dr. Timothy Saloom was reappointed as school physician at a salary of $25,000 plus $2.50 per student and dentists Dave Cobb, Robert Clark and Dr. Siwula-Gill were named to conduct dental exams for students in grades three and seven at a cost of $1 per exam.

While directors Fike and Tony Lizza voted against the motion, David G. Petonic will remain solicitor for the district for another year.

His retainer for the monthly regular business meeting, monthly planning meeting and one special meeting or board hearing per month, whether held or not will be $1,050 a month, which is the same rate as last year.

Petonic will also bill the district $99 per hour for additional services and $120 an hour for court time or administrative hearings, mediation or arbitration hearing time effective July 1 and excess costs such as long distance phone calls, extraordinary postage and travel costs and excessive photocopying will be billed at cost.

Under personnel, the board granted tenure status to Brenton DeFlitch, Michael May and Ashley Morris; accepted the resignation of Christina Haines; approved Keith Miller as the seventh-grade team leader; approved Jackie Polakovsy as the eighth-grade team leader and approved Janey Layman as the specials team leader.

Anna Marie Macioce was also approved as the guard instructor for the Southmoreland Band during the 2011-12 school year.

The Summer Lunch Program operated by Southmoreland School District at Centennial Park in Everson begins on Monday. Lunch will be served from 12:15 to 1:15 Monday through Friday until Aug. 12. Lunch will be offered the week of July 4, but will be closed the day of July 4. The lunches are free for individuals 18 years and younger, and adult lunches are $3 per individual.

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