New Castle News


July 2, 2014

New Castle board adopts budget despite uncertainty

NEW CASTLE — 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.

But officials said the state waited until the last minute to inform them the district will get $451,152 less than the preliminary budget estimate.

Although the state budget remained in limbo Tuesday, superintendent John Sarandrea said the district was legally obligated to pass a budget by that date.

He said the budget can be re-opened at the next meeting, scheduled for Monday, if necessary. “Once we find out what we’re getting or not getting, we can make firm decisions.”

Joe Ambrosini, district business manager, said the preliminary budget listed New Castle as receiving $727,490 in basic education funds. This week the district received word it would get $276,338.

Sarandrea said he is looking at ways to make up for the loss. He said these could include not replacing some retirees, deferring major spending for technology and some other actions.

The district also will start advertising Wednesday for sale of closed school buildings, he said, and by later this month, officials will have a better idea “of where we are at.”

He added the district would be looking at a $2 million deficit if it had not closed schools and consolidated buildings. In addition, the staff has been reduced by 25 employees.

The superintendent said the late word has left the district few options.

“Districts are really stuck right now,” Ambrosini said, adding, “So many decisions are based on a preliminary budget.”

Sarandrea said he is not agreeable to dipping in the fund balance to make up the shortfall because it is getting “dangerously low.” That balance was expected to be $14,458,264 as this school year ended.

One area of concern, he said, is “we can’t let our scores go any lower,” because this will drive more students to private schools, taking even more money out of the district’s budget.

Ambrosini said after the meeting that even with the reduced basic education figures, the district will receive more overall state funding than it did for the 2014-15 school year. He said the district receives approximately $31 million annually in state funds and $10 million in local tax funds.

The vote on the budget was 7-0, with Barbara Razzano and Mark Kirkwood absent.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • 12.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Night light

    The balloons may have been on the ground but spirits were soaring.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • StateFair.jpg 'State Fair' coming to Playhouse

    The fair is coming to town. No, not the Lawrence County Fair, although that is right around the corner. This is the Iowa State Fair, and it will be live on the stage of the New Castle Playhouse for three weeks, starting Friday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • accountant.jpg DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged

    Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • lamancusa.jpg Tanner, district attorney: No comment

    The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Shenango1.jpg Shenango Township: Supervisors fire Tanner, release DeLorenzo

    The Shenango supervisors fired township secretary/treasurer Brian Tanner and terminated auditor and consultant Deno DeLorenzo last night.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos 4 Stories

  • gavel.jpg Shenango to take action on Tanner, DeLorenzo

    Shenango’s supervisors will act Thursday night on the employment contracts of two men being investigated for possible theft of township funds.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • money.jpg Shenango computers, financial papers seized

    Investigators have seized computers and a host of financial paperwork from the Shenango Township Municipal Building.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • money.jpg Second warrant issued in Shenango Township finances probe

    The home office of Shenango Township’s secretary/treasurer is the subject of a search warrant. A warrant was approved allowing investigators from the Lawrence County district attorney’s office to search Brian Tanner’s home office at 658 Melody Lane Extension in Shenango and seize all computers and computer records.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

House Ads

"State Fair" opens at the New Castle Playhouse tonight. Will you be checking out the show?

Definitely! I've already got my tickets.
Maybe. I'm not sure.
Nah, it's not for me.
     View Results