Norwin discusses possible tax hike, doesn’t expect layoffs |

Norwin discusses possible tax hike, doesn’t expect layoffs

Joe Napsha

Norwin School District property owners may pay 3% more in real estate taxes for the 2019-2020 school, the most the school district can raise taxes without getting approval from the state education department or district voters.

In discussing the proposed budget for the upcoming school year, Norwin anticipates raising real estate taxes for 2019-20 by 2.4 mills to 82.4 mills on property in North Huntingdon, North Irwin and Irwin, according to a budgetary review presented Monday by Ryan Kirsch, business affairs director. Norwin has raised taxes about 3% in each of the past five years.

The tax hike would provide a projected $970,000 in additional tax revenue, Kirsch said. But he projected there still will be a $1.3 million budget shortfall.

While school officials reviewed the district’s next spending plan, the school board won’t vote on adopting a preliminary budget until May 13. A vote to approve the final budget is planned for June 17, Kirsch said.

Expenditures are pegged at $73.3 million with revenues coming in at $72 million, he said. The shortfall will be covered with a $350,000 transfer from budgetary reserves and $978,875 from the general fund balance.

Salaries and benefits account for the largest part of the budget at $53 million.

Kirsch said the district should realize $287,000 in additional tax revenue because of property assessment increases district-wide.

Superintendent William Kerr said everything possible has been done to reduce expenses and sustain educational programs.

Kerr described Norwin’s budget as “not a deficit, but an imbalance.”

Kerr said the district is not anticipating any layoffs for the next school year. Norwin plans to replace six teachers who are retiring, and add a middle school computer science position.

Kerr was concerned with the number of teachers taking sabbaticals in the upcoming school year. The equivalent of three teachers will be on sabbatical and another two may file for sabbaticals. The savings Norwin might realize from hiring new teachers in place of the higher-paid retiring teachers, “is being shifted to fund sabbaticals,” Kerr said.

“That’s a red flag,” Kerr said.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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