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No tax increase for Belle Vernon Area

| Tuesday, June 24, 2008

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP - The Belle Vernon Area School Board on Monday marked its fifth consecutive year without a considerable real estate tax increase.

The board passed a $31,619,283 spending plan for the 2008-2009 school year that required no increase in the real estate tax rate.

Business manager Eileen Navish said the recent retirement of 13 teachers helped the district save money and offset rising health insurance and operational costs.

In February, Steve Cypher, of the Canonsburg-based accounting firm Cypher & Cypher, commended the board for building a solid financial reserve.

In delivering an audit report for the 2006-2007 budget, Cypher said the district is prepared to handle long-term costs and emergency expenses because of the amount in reserve, more than $6 million.

The district was able this year to begin $4.3 million in renovations at all schools.

The project involves expansion of the all-day kindergarten program through the construction of four classrooms at Rostraver Elementary School and three classrooms at Marion Elementary School.

Air conditioning will be installed at Rostraver and Bellmar middle schools and added to 20 rooms at Rostraver Elementary and 22 rooms at Marion Elementary.

Seven science labs at the high school will be upgraded.

The board last night unanimously voted to move forward with construction of a field house at the Jim Weir Stadium.

Athletic Director Jesse Cramer presented plans for the building, which includes locker rooms for home and visiting teams, wrestling and weight rooms, and other amenities.

A separate building will house a concession stand and restrooms.

Cramer said portable restrooms are currently being used at the stadium, and a larger weight and wrestling rooms are needed.

The board agreed to spend up to $720,000 for the buildings.

Cramer said construction should take six to eight weeks.

In an unrelated matter, the board hired:

- Jamie L. Pappas, Title I reading specialist, at a salary of $44,410.

- Daniel Cieply, emotional support teacher, $46,708.

- Jason Herrod, learning support teacher, special education transition coordinator and career and technology center liaison, $48,474.

n Jennifer Kalkowski, learning support teacher, $46,708.

- Kimberly L. Kelly, Spanish teacher, $43,306.

- Ian E. Finn, science and technology teacher, $44,410.

- Michael J. Pappas, technology education teacher, $43,306.

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