No Tax Increase in Moon Schools '12-'13 Proposed Budget

Tax rates remain the same under the Moon Area School District's proposed final 2012-2013.

The last night approved a proposed final version of the district’s 2012-2013 budget that includes full-day kindergarten but holds the line on taxes. 

The budget, which is available to the public for a 30-day review before the board moves to finalize it, totals $62,778,660.

Under the proposed budget, the millage rate in the district will remain at 21.30 mills. The board did not levy a .42-mill increase, which the district qualifed for under the state's Taxpayer Relef Act.

The budget marks an 8.9 percent increase from the 2011-2012 plan, due to non-recurring transfers of $2 million to the district’s capital projects fund. Employee salary and benefits remain the largest expense, totaling $26.3 million for salaries and $11.9 million for employee benefits, according to the district.

Employee retirement benefit costs were raised 42.9 percent due to contributions to the Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement System.  

“It’s still a work in progress,” said board member Samuel Tranter of the budget.

The proposed final budget was approved in an 8-to-1 vote; board member Ron Steele voted “no” on the measure. Full-day kindergarten, which district educators have the board to implement, was approved in an 8-to-1 vote; board member Michael Olszewski voted “no” on the measure.

Board members vowed to pass the budget without a tax increase. 

Early showed the district as having $60.2 million in revenue for the year and $61.5 million in expenditures without budget cuts or a tax increase.

The board  furloughing teachers and forgoing planned programs, including the full-day kindergarten program, to balance the budget without raising taxes.

The board last month moved to use a $2.665 million court settlement to pay down pension costs, enabling the district to maintain tax rates for the year without furloughs or a proposed for athletics. Alan Bennett, director of fiscal services, advised the board to use the money for capital projects and not toward recurring expenses, such as legacy costs.

Commercial development firm Elmhurst Group, which owns property on Airside Drive in Moon, lost its property tax appeal earlier this year in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

The district budgeted an additional $325,000 to fund its full-day kindergarten program next year. Another $250,000 will be put toward a district-wide technology upgrades.

Check back with Patch for more. Other items from the meeting: 

  • The board also approved a $24,950 bid award to the Pittsburgh Painting Company for the painting and pressure washing of the stadium seating in Tiger Stadium. The expense will be funded through the Capital Reserve Fund. 
  • The board approved a revision of the district’s program of studies to include Mandarin Chinese III. The course is a distance-learning program through the University of Pittsburgh. 
Teri Shaw May 22, 2012 at 12:58 PM
I am glad about the NO Furloughs. Small class sizes. Thank You.
RealMoonResident May 22, 2012 at 12:59 PM
I agree that property taxes should play a smaller part in school funding. Otherwise, the older people on fixed incomes view anything new as an extravagance and try to derail it. Taxation and the district budgets become a political issue instead of administrative. Older people seem to forget that somebody else paid for their kids to get an education and the politicians on the school board seem to forget that they were put there so kids get an education, not just to keep taxes where they are. The district would have $20 million more if politicians didn't play politics with the new high school and refurbish McCormick just to get votes.
RealMoonResident May 22, 2012 at 01:06 PM
I agree. I don't envy the board at all, especially since the state is not helping much. Apparently the only advice from the state is for the districts to spend down their reserves, which is really quite dumb...
Louisa May 22, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Congratulations to Mrs. McCurdy and the other board members who have held the line on taxes. With the whopper sized fund balance they control taxes shouldn't need raised next year either.
lynn May 22, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Congratulations and thanks to Mark Scappe and the prior board. After all, they were the ones who left the present board with over a $9,000,000 fund balance. The Mark Scappe board also put the plan in action that lead to the implementation of Full Day Kindergarten.


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