Beattie Career Center's budget is adopted in the North suburbs

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A.W. Beattie Career Center's $8.8 million 2014-15 budget has been adopted by a majority vote of the nine member districts in the North suburbs.

The only negative vote was cast by the North Hills school board.

Arlene Bender who serves with Kathy Reid as North Hills’ representatives on the Beattie board, expressed her dismay at her school board’s no vote.

Pointing out that North Hills was one of the first schools to send students to Beattie, Mrs. Bender told the board, “This has been difficult for Mrs Reid and me. Rejection of Beattie’s budget has never happened before, and it’s an embarrassment.”

Thomas Schwarzmier, a North Allegheny representative who serves as joint committee president, said, “I think the budget is being handled well. We have tightened it up as much as possible.”

He said officials cut $28,000 in program costs.

“We keep making cuts, but costs continue to go up due to things beyond our control,” he said. The budget calls for a $743,000 increase in next year’s tuition.

Large increases in retirement funding and uncertain health care costs are two financial issues contributing to the cost increase, but there was also the loss of a $450,000 budget surplus, which had been keeping tuition low.

The school districts pay for the program each year based on the number of students sent the previous year. Director Eric Heasley said that next year’s student enrollment is predicted to be approximately 680, which would be an increase of about 30.

In addition to North Hills, the member districts are Avonworth, Deer Lakes, Fox Chapel Area, Hampton, North Allegheny, Northgate, Pine-Richland and Shaler Area.

Jill Cueni-Cohen, freelance writer:

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