New Castle News

Neshannock

June 12, 2012

Neshannock board still anticipates tax hike

NEW CASTLE — The Neshannock school board still anticipates a 2 percent tax increase.

But the question is, will there be enough votes to approve the new budget Thursday?

“Our board is divided 4-4,” district superintendent Dr. Mary Todora said after Monday night’s work session. “It will be one vote that decides it.”

She did not indicate who the swing vote is.

Last month the board introduced a spending plan with revenues of $16,198,099 and expenses of $16,540,984.

The 2 percent tax hike represents an additional $28 for each $100,000 of property value.

Prior to Monday night’s session, board members discussed the plan. Those expressing an opinion retained the stand they had taken last month. Karen Houk said the only way she could support the plan “is if there is no tax increase. You can’t continue to spend the way you’re spending.”

Noting an additional $90,000 in income to the district has been found since last month, Todora said she has nothing left to cut. “We take this seriously.”

P.J. Copple agreed. “There is not much that can be cut,” he said. “Most of the budget is leases and contracts.”

Only one member of the public, Russell “Hank” Forney, spoke about the budget.

“I had hoped to hear a spirited discussion about the budget,” he said. “What I heard was discussion on raincoats. I said to myself, ‘We’re in trouble.’”

Forney urged the district to follow the lead of some in the Pittsburgh area.

“They understood there is a financial problem heading this way,” he said . “They started last year to address that.”

He also advised board members to “change the way you do business.”

Former kindergarten teacher Michele LoGalbo urged a switch to an all-day kindergarten program, as other districts have done.

This was applauded by parent John Buckner.

He said children who have special needs could be identified in kindergarten so they receive assistance by grade one.

Band boosters also attended the meeting.

At its meeting Thursday, the board is expected to approve spending $31,360 for new band uniforms. Current uniforms are about 12 years old. The boosters offered to provide $3,500 to purchase 70 new raincoats for band members, replacing existing coats estimated to be about 25 years old.

The boosters also presented the board with a $2,300 check to be used to paint the band shelter at the football stadium.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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