New Castle News

June 16, 2013

Ellwood OKs budget with no tax hike

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The Ellwood City school board adopted the district’s 2013-14 budget with no increase in taxes.

The budget totals $26,512,279. Property taxes are set at 15.81 mills.

Board member Leroy Cortez explained Friday that one of the district’s savings this year is the elimination of an elementary school music teacher, through attrition.

He said the elimination is part of a long-range plan begun in 2007 when the district started seeing cuts in state education subsidies to school districts.

The district closed Walnut Ridge Elementary School two years ago and left other positions unfilled in 2011 and 2012.

“We’ve gone with one less person in math, science, English and social studies,” he said, “Now we’re doing that with the music program.”

He emphasized the program is not being cut or reduced. Rather, “we’re making better use of our personnel.”

Ray Falotico, elementary band instructor for fifth and sixth grades, has retired. Varsity band instructor Lee Caldwell will share his time performing those duties at Hartman Intermediate School as well as teaching at the high school. An elementary choir teacher also will share her time in the program, he said.

The changes save the salary of one teacher, Cortez explained, which, with benefits, is well more than $50,000 a year.