Hempfield schools want to cut fewer positions in proposed budget | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Hempfield schools want to cut fewer positions in proposed budget

Megan Tomasic
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Tribune-Review file photo
The Hempfield Area School District approved a preliminary budget for the 2019-20 school year last week, and is working to eliminate fewer positions.

Hempfield Area School District officials are trying to limit the number of positions cut in a proposed budget for the 2019-20 school year.

Last week, school board members unanimously passed a preliminary budget that cut six positions, including five paraprofessionals and one building aide, but did not raise property taxes.

Now, officials are taking another look at the budget to see if there’s a way to move two paraprofessionals in learning support positions into new jobs otherwise filled by a third-party provider. If so, three paraprofessionals would be cut instead of five.

“The decision to reduce the number of paraprofessionals was based upon the number of special education students receiving learning support services within the school,” said Superintendent Tammy Wolicki, who added paraprofessionals provide support under the direction of special education teachers.

“The number of special education teachers at the elementary and middle school level were not reduced,” she said.

Under the proposed plan, each middle school — Harrold, Wendover and West Hempfield — would have two paraprofessionals rather than three, Wolicki said, and Fort Allen and West Point elementary schools would have one paraprofessional rather than two.

Last week, school board members voted unanimously to move forward with a budget of more than $98.1 million. The budget holds property taxes at 83.46 mills, putting a stop to the gradual rate increase seen over the past five years.

The district is projecting about $69.4 million in expenditures for the 2019-20 school year, including Social Security, Medicare and health care costs. It expects to bring in $61.1 million through local revenue sources — primarily real estate and earned income taxes, $35.8 million through state funding and about $1.1 million from the federal government.

The increase in expenditures will be offset by staffing cuts, saving the district about $186,950 by reducing six positions. Three other positions — two instructors and one support position — are to be eliminated through attrition.

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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