Norwin faces possible $1 million budget deficit
Norwin school officials are facing a possible $1 million deficit when they tackle the 2019-20 budget this spring, even if taxes are raised about 2.4 mills, the maximum the state will allow.
The school board is expected to consider a resolution Monday that will put a cap on any real estate tax hike at the inflationary index, which is a 3 percent increase in the millage rate.
Ryan Kirsch, Norwin’s director of business affairs, told board members this week that raising real estate taxes by 2.4 mills will generate about $950,000 in revenue, but that would still leave the district with a possible $1 million deficit.
Kirsch based his budget projections on a 1 percent increase in state funding. The board must pass its budget by June 30.
“Realigning, restructuring, and reallocating of district resources will be an integral part of the 2019-20 budgeting preparation and process,” Superintendent William Kerr said Tuesday.
The board and administration hope the district will not have to reduce educational programs or teacher furloughs, Kerr said.
Kerr is retiring June 30. He warned last spring, after a bitter budget battle, Norwin would face challenges in the 2019-20 school year. Last year, cuts were made in the family and consumer teaching staff.
Last year Norwin raised real estate taxes by 2.4 mills — to 80 mills for North Huntingdon, Irwin and North Irwin property owners. The tax levy for those municipalities includes 1.2 mills for the Norwin Public Library in Irwin, as approved by a voter referendum. About 18 properties in White Oak and South Versailles in Allegheny County are part of the Norwin School District and are taxed at 12 mills because of the different property assessment in Allegheny County.
Expressing concern over the impact of the budget on the future of the physical education program, Trinity Morgan, a high school physical education teacher since 2003, said six physical education teachers have left in the past six years — one by furlough and the others through attrition.
Physical education classes for seniors have been eliminated and physical education for juniors will be eliminated after this school year, Morgan said. Norwin has eliminated adaptive physical education teachers who developed a fitness regimen to enable injured students to exercise in a manner that is medically approved, Morgan said.
In other budget news, school officials are optimistic Norwin’s 2017-18 audit will reveal a “slightly better than expected financial standing.”
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, email@example.com or via Twitter .