New Castle News

February 19, 2014

Wilmington unsure about tax hike

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The Wilmington school board is not sure if it will raise taxes for the 2014-15 school year.

At Monday’s meeting, the board adopted a preliminary budget that keeps the option open.

Superintendent Dr. Michelle Miller said it’s too early to determine whether a millage increase will be necessary because all the revenue and expenditure figures are not yet available.

However state law dictates that if a district wants the option to increase the millage over the index, it must introduce a preliminary budget.

Miller presented a preliminary budget to the board that shows the tax rate at 14.3 mills, one mill higher than current school real estate taxes.

That is above the increase the district would be allowed without going to the voters or without invoking one of several exceptions.

She said the millage figure in the preliminary budget is “just a generic increase built in.”

Officials said that over the last few years, Wilmington has adopted a preliminary budget in order to keep its options open.

The last tax increase was in the 2012-13 school year, when taxes were raised to the current 13.3 mill level. Before that, the millage rate was 12.70.

The final budget must be adopted by July 1.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board:

•Named Amy Adams as full-time custodian at New Wilmington Elementary School at $18,500 annually.

•Approved paying HHSDR Engineers of Sharon for review and design of three projects including: $105 per hour up to $2,100 to review specifications prepared by Milo George for the athletic field replacement; $3,500 to design, prepare bid documents and do construction administration for painting or replacement of lockers at the high school and middle school, with an additional $500 for printing and copying expenses; and $4,750 for designing and preparing bid documents for athletic track resurfacing, $2,500 for construction administration of the project and $1,800 for printing and copying expense.

•Hired Mary Cournan as an emergency substitute teacher at $70 per day.

•Agreed to pay Questeq of Moon Township $5,000 for a technology needs assessment.

•Granted high school guidance counselor Taryn Powell family leave from Feb. 19 to March 3

•Agreed to sell the district’s Alcatel Lucent wireless hardware, which is no longer needed, to the Neshannock school district for $8,500.

•Granted tenure to autistic support teacher Nicole Dickey, who was hired in January 2011.

•Appointed business manager Jen Conrad as the district’s open records Officer at no additional compensation.

•Added Dr. Maria Mezzanotte as a district dentist in addition to Dr. Kenneth Woods to allow greater flexibility in scheduling.

•Heard from Miller that the Alert Now phone system will be sending messages to students’ homes before upcoming testing dates and assessments.