New Castle News

June 26, 2012

Union board holds line on taxes, cuts teacher

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The Union school board adopted its 2012-13 budget with no property tax increase.

The board voted 7-1 in favor of the $10.3 million budget, which reflects a $75,000 deficit between anticipated revenues and expenditures. Kathy Duncan cast the no vote and John Pacella was absent.

Property taxes will remain at 14.42 mills.

The shortfall will be taken from the district’s fund balance in order to balance the budget, business manager Samantha Charles explained, noting the district still is waiting to hear what its final state allocation will be.

Union’s existing fund balance is $1.7 million.

Duncan said she voted against the budget because she opposes discontinuing the family consumer science program and teacher furlough that were among the cost-cutting measures.

The board voted 7-1 to cut the family consumer science program for the 2012-13 school year, which calls for a layoff of its longtime teacher, Jodi Pardick. Duncan cast the no vote.

That will save the district about $75,000, including wages and benefits, Charles explained.

The position cut was discussed at the board’s June 15 meeting, where at least one taxpayer objected to it.

The board also approved wage freezes next school year for all high school principals, buildings and grounds supervisors, business manager and all other noncontracted support staff.

“All but the union members are taking wage freezes,” Charles said.

At its meeting last week the board also:

•Approved a contract of $86,373 with Precision Sports Surfaces Inc. for resurfacing of the high school track. The Charlottesville, Va., firm was the lowest of five bidders.

•Agreed to purchase a van for $30,174 from Dave Hallman Chevrolet of Erie for special education transportation. That was the lower of two bids.