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May 11, 2012

Union could see cuts to avoid tax hike

NEW CASTLE —

The Union Area School District is looking at ways to cut expenses in order to avoid a tax increase.

A budget for the 2012-13 school will be introduced at Wednesday’s board meeting, but all aspects of the financial plan are still being discussed, superintendent Dr. Alfonso “Butch” Angelucci said.“There is a likelihood of personnel and program cuts,” Angelucci said, but he would not elaborate on what areas might be affected. “At this time, it doesn’t appear likely taxes will be increased.”

The board is always aware of taxpayer burdens and tries to avoid an increase, if possible, he explained.

Meanwhile, other cost-cutting measures will be implemented.

That includes reducing the summer work schedule for administration, office, cleaning, maintenance and custodial staff from five days a week to four.

Angelucci said that action will help save on utilities.

According to Samantha Laverty, board secretary, the savings in wages and utilities is about $5,000.

Another way the district may attempt to balance the budget is by implementing fees for driver’s education. The district would save about $3,700 if the fees are imposed and the cost would be between $50 and $75 per student, Angelucci said. At least two other districts have already done this, he pointed out.

Savings could be realized in transportation by consolidating or streamlining bus runs, which is still part of the discussion process, Angelucci added.

Last year, junior high athletics were cut, but the local boosters club rescued the program through fundraising efforts, he said. Angelucci noted the board may have to repeat that move for next year but is confident the boosters will again find a way to keep the junior high program intact.

Laverty said the budget for the junior high athletics is approximately $10,000.

Any cutbacks are a result of the proposed state budget, Angelucci said, which leaves the district with a deficit of $250,000 to $300,000.

(Email: lhudson@ncnewsonline.com)

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