New Castle News

Schools

April 19, 2013

Union still undecided on tax hike

NEW CASTLE — The Union school board is hoping to avoid a tax increase next year but has not decided yet.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Samantha Charles, district business manager, provided an overview of funding for the 2013-14 school year, based on Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget.

The district is expected to received $6.4 million in state funding. Of that amount, $4.56 million will go toward basic education, $450,000 for special education and $1.4 million is other various state reimbursements, Charles said.

Local revenue is estimated to be $3.6 million, she continued, so “Union is looking at about a $10 million budget, which is consistent with the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years.”

More details will be forthcoming through the next few weeks, she said, but the board has not decided if taxes will be raised for next year.

“If we raise taxes, it would be a 0.35-mill increase, which would bring $72,000 to the district,” Charles explained.

The index, which is the limit given by the state before a district is required to put it to a public vote, is 2.5 percent, she noted, adding the index will not be exceeded.

The budget will be formally introduced at the May 15 meeting.

The board also approved five retirements, all effective June 30:

•Elizabeth Sylvester, first-grade teacher, who has been with the district 33 years

•Sandra Senko, elementary special education teacher, with 27 years of service

•Patricia Blazejewski, district nurse, 21 years at Union

•Angela Savelli, middle school/high school special education teacher, who has 18 1/2 years with Union

•Neva Johnston, middle school/high school science teacher, who has been with the district 18 years

Superintendent Dr. Alfonoso “Butch” Angelucci said he regards the five women with high esteem.

“All five are as compassionate as I’ve ever worked with and it’s a blow to the district.”

Regarding teacher negotiations, he noted the board and teachers union are still meeting regularly and making progress. The current three-year teachers contract expires June 30.

A visitor to the meeting expressed concern that the marching band uniforms are showing wear and tear, and asked the board to consider the purchase of new uniforms. The visitor also mentioned fundraising to help defray costs. The request for new uniforms is already being discussed, Angelucci said.

In other business, the board:

•Approved the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center’s 2013-14 budget of $6,842,838.

•Approved the agreement with Butler County Community College for dual enrollment college credit courses.

(Email: lhudson@ncnewsonline.com)

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