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Property Taxes Won't Rise Under Budget Approved by Moon School Board

The $57.1 million preliminary spending plan calls for staffing and service cuts.

The Moon Area School Board unanimously approved a for the district's 2011-2012 school year, cutting spending by 4.5 percent from last year's budget.

The budget includes no property tax increases, but Alan Bennett, director of fiscal and school services, said many services, including a before- and after-school tutoring program, will be eliminated.

"We really had to look at everything," Bennett said of the budget reductions, which include supplies and equipment from nearly all areas of the district. "Everything was on the table."

Bennett also said more staffing cutbacks in the district will need to be made under the proposed budget but declined to discuss the specifics of those staff changes.

"Those [staff changes] have not yet been looked at by the board," he said.

Five teachers in the district were placed on indefinite after the board's May 10 meeting.

The district will spend $24.6 million on salaries and $10.5 million on benefits this fiscal year, marking a 4.5 percent decrease from the previous year's budget. Employee retirement benefit costs rose by by 53.4 percent this year.

Board President Mark Scappe called the preliminary budget a "moving target" that he said will likely change before the board takes its final vote on it in 30 days.

"I'm sure that this is going to change from now until the final budget depending on how [Gov. Tom Corbett's] budget changes," Scappe said. "Hopefully we can keep all the staff and all of the curriculum in place for the coming year."

The school district is slated for a The district's real-estate tax rate remains at 21.30 mills.

The preliminary budget will be available for public viewing through the school district for 30 days before the board's final vote next month. Check back with Patch for more coverage.

lynn May 24, 2011 at 04:16 PM
So Clearfield, are you saying that you wished the board had raised taxes? I see plenty of school boards in other districts making massive lay-offs and raising taxes. The MASD board made minimal lay-offs and didn't raise taxes at all, for the second year in a row. You call it political, I call it being fiscally responsible.
Bob Winters May 24, 2011 at 05:58 PM
After reading this it is great news. No tax increase. I hope what Mr. Scappe stated comes true "I'm sure that this is going to change from now until the final budget depending on how [Gov. Tom Corbett's] budget changes," Scappe said. "Hopefully we can keep all the staff and all of the curriculum in place for the coming year." This would be a special feet compared to other districts with lay-offs and cuts.
bill May 24, 2011 at 07:36 PM
What kind of "special feet" are you referring to? Spell check can't fix.......
clearfield May 25, 2011 at 01:52 AM
Lynn, I am not saying that taxes should be raised or not raised. I am not knowledgable enough to see what components of the budget will be cut. All I am saying is that the decision would likely be political. With a November election coming soon after the final budget is approved, the opposition candidates would use any tax increase, even if it were required for the operations of the district, as a political football against the incumbents. As Scappe said, "Hopefully we can keep all the staff and all of the curriculum in place for the coming year." That is code for if we lose the majority position on the board, the next majority, if it is the Republicans, will have to deal with the cuts and the possibility of raising taxes. If they lose, and we retain the majority, then we have a few years to justify raising taxes in the next fiscal year. Cutting the budget during a time when working people are trying to stay above water with their budgets, is safe and a vote catcher.
bill May 25, 2011 at 11:29 AM
Actually, should it be "a special foot"? Waiting for your reply Bob.

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