Fox Chapel Area
School directors have adopted a $86.1 million spending plan for 2013-14 that increases expenses by 4.7 percent and lowers the property tax rate from 21.56 mills to 18.45 mills -- although individual tax bills may be higher because of reassessments.
The assessed value of properties in the district increased to $3.2 billion, which is 15.8 percent higher than 2012.
To avoid a property tax revenue windfall from higher assessments and create a revenue-neutral millage rate, the district was required to drop the rate to 18.14.
But, in order to meet increased expenses in salaries, medical costs and the district's contribution rate increase to the Public School Employees' Retirement System, board members exercised their option to increase the millage rate by the Pennsylvania Department of Education-approved index of 1.7 percent to arrive at the final total.
School directors approved a $42.1 million budget Tuesday that lowers the millage rate but still could mean a tax increase for property owners because of reassessments.
The tax rate was dropped from 21.25 mills to 16.93 mills.
Expenses are budgeted $170,800 more than revenues so the district will tap a special fund it created to bridge the gap to cover items such as mandated retirement costs that will increase nearly $900,000.
Nearly 75 percent of the budget expenditures are salaries and benefits, which reflect wage concessions and freezes for various employee groups, including administrators.
Among the new initiatives are a yearlong extension of the elementary literacy coach position, addition of a kindergarten teacher, a four-year technology plan and an increased focus on career education -- especially for high school students including internships, job shadowing, etc.
Sixth-graders and religious education students collected toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, socks, washcloths and hand towels to pack 300 personal care kits for Downtown's homeless. During the past 10 years, the outreach has presented more than 3,000 kits to the Red Door at St. Mary of Mercy Church, Operation Safety Net at Mercy Hospital and the Light of Life Mission.
• Students participating in the Read Across America campaign read for 317,611 minutes in four weeks, responding to a challenge from principal Kathy Roppa. The reading was measured with a chain that covered more than the two floors of hallways in the school. Each link in the chain equaled 100 minutes of reading.
• Proceeds from the seventh grade's annual service project totaled $3,250, which was sent to aid families of Chimbote, Peru. Each grade level purchased construction paper bricks to build a symbolic mural house as part of this year's theme, Be a Hero, Build a House!
In three years, more than $12,000 has been raised.
St. Teresa of Avila
The school's varsity soccer team recently won the Diocesan Soccer League varsity championship for the spring season by defeating SS. Peter and Paul this month at Highmark Stadium.
Competing in the World Cup Division, the Titans squad of seventh-graders finished the season with a record of 10-1, including three playoff victories. Last year, the team won the diocesan junior varsity soccer championship.
Jodie Perry of Zelienople, an assistant principal at the senior high school, was hired Monday as principal of the intermediate high school.
Her annual salary will be $105,000
Ms. Perry will replace Alan Cumo in the intermediate school, which houses grades nine and 10. Mr. Cumo retired earlier this month.
A replacement has not been named for her position, said Linda Andreassi, district spokeswoman.
Ms. Perry is a 1998 graduate of Seneca Valley and began working in the district in 2003 as a special education teacher in the high school. She was promoted to assistant principal there four years ago.
She received a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree from Gannon University. She has a K-12 principal certificate from Slippery Rock University.neigh_north