New Castle News


February 9, 2013

Local school districts analyze state pension reform

NEW CASTLE — Local school districts are waiting to hear whether a pension reform plan proposed by the governor will come to pass.

Without it, they are anticipating continued increases in their employer contributions to the Public School Employees Retirement System.

Gov. Tom Corbett has said he will work closely with the state retirement systems, teachers unions and Legislature to address the state’s pension system, which has more than $41 billion in unfunded liability and is obligating more and more money from school districts in employer contribution costs.

The governor’s proposal could save more than $2 billion over the next five years and could save school districts $1 billion during that time.

Joe Ambrosini, New Castle school district’s business manager, explained that were the governor’s proposal to pass, some of the reduction in employee benefits would translate into a reduced percentage of a maximum increase districts would have to pay from one year to the next.

The legislation would cap the increase at 2.5 percent per year as opposed to the current increases of 4.5 percent. “That would be more manageable for the budget,” Ambrosini said.

The 2013-14 increase is set at 16.93 percent, but under the governor’s plan the rate would be 14.68 percent — a decrease of 2.25 percent.

Based on the New Castle district’s salaries totaling $20,450,000 for 2012-13, applying this year’s employer retirement rate of 12.68 percent, the district’s contribution would be $2,593,060, according to information Ambrosini provided.

Ambrosini noted the state reimburses most districts about half of their total contributions, so the net cost to the district would actually be about $1,296,530 for this year.

For next year, the district’s projected total salary is $21 million. At the 16.93 percent rate, the district’s contribution would be $3,555,300. With the state share of about half, the district would pay $1,777,650.

However, under the pension reform plan, at 14.68 percent, the district would pay only $1,541,400 in 2013-14, which would be a reduction of $236,250.

Other proposed changes would affect future pension benefits of employees, but there would be no change for those already retired.

New employees would have a defined contribution plan, similar to a 401(k), instead of a defined benefit plan.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Yauger.jpg Yauger’s Mercer County trial on hold

    A pending criminal trial for the former Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV executive director has been continued again in Mercer County.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yauger.jpg Yauger now facing federal charge

    With Mercer County court proceedings pending this week, Cecelia Yauger faces federal prosecution for alleged business credit card misuse.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg New Castle board adopts budget despite uncertainty

    The New Castle school board adopted its 2014-15 budget Monday but may have to re-open it next week. The $5.4 million budget, introduced in May, has no tax increase and will not tap into the fund balance. Taxes remain at 17.72 mills.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todora.jpg Board, staff bids farewell to superintendent

    Dr. Mary Todora will retire Monday from the Neshannock school district. “I remember eight and a half years ago when Dr. John Dietz (then-board president) called to tell me I got the job. I was thrilled,” Todora said at her final board meeting.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich.jpg Vo-tech administrators get bonuses, no raises

    Lawrence County Career and Technical Center administrators will get one-time bonuses instead of raises next year. The joint operating committee approved one-year agreements that would freeze the salaries of director Leonard A. Rich and the principal, head custodian, cafeteria supervisor and computer technician.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • FrankAloi.jpg Frank Aloi: 50 years of school spirit in Ellwood City

    Frank Aloi is a true Wolverine. Aloi, who turned 73 Friday, spent the past half-century affiliated with the Ellwood City school district and its sports teams.

    June 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • FrankAloi.JPG Frank Aloi Retiring: Ellwood superintendent leaving amid budget woes

    Frank Aloi is retiring next month as Ellwood City’s superintendent of schools. Aloi, a 50-year district employee and its superintendent for nearly 12, submitted his retirement notice to the board during an executive session prior to Thursday’s meeting. His last day is July 16.

    June 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg District mulls building sale options

    The New Castle school district is considering selling its three recently closed buildings through a sealed bid process.

    June 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Perfect.jpg Your Education: Shenango grad never missed a day

    They say nobody’s perfect. But for 13 years, Jenna DiGiammarino certainly was. When Jenna left last night’s commencement ceremonies at Shenango High School, she did so not only with a diploma in hand, but also with a flawless record of attendance dating back to Day One of kindergarten.

    June 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • 03.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Three New Castle schools close today for good

    Today is bittersweet for New Castle Area School District elementary students and teachers. Three buildings packed with history as longtime learning institutions are closing their doors for good.

    June 5, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

Would you want to know what your pet is thinking about you?

Yes! I'd love to know what my pet is thinking.
Nah, it's probably not that interesting.
I don't know. I'm afraid of what I might find out.
     View Results