Steel Valley school board has approved a $30 million preliminary budget for the 2014-2015 school year.
Board President Donna Kiefer said last week during a meeting that directors have no intention of increasing school real estate taxes during that year: They will remain at 21.31 mills.
Budget expenditures of $30,063,944 will exceed projected 2014-2015 year revenues of $29,473,101 by $590,843.
Mrs. Kiefer said directors haven’t decided yet whether they will cover the difference by using the district’s reserve fund, since the district has not yet received final numbers on what state education funds will be received during the coming year.
After the meeting, business consultant and former business manager John Yacklich said by phone that total tax revenues for 2014-2015 are also uncertain.
“A lot of people filed for lower tax assessments,” he said.
The amount the district and state must pay to the Pennsylvania State Employee’s Retirement System for employee pensions will increase from 16.93 percent during the 2013-2014 school year to 21.4 percent in the 2014 -2015 school year, district officials said.
On the plus side, the district is expected to receive an increase of about $40,000 in state special education funding in 2014-2015, school officials said.
■ The district’s new dress code was also a topic during the meeting.
School directors voted 7-2 to approve the first reading of the policy.
The dress code would limit students to wearing polo shirts in yellow, gold, burgundy or black, with sweaters and sweatshirts; and slacks, worn at the waist, in black or khaki.
One topic at the meeting was whether boys should be allowed to wear long-sleeved dress shirts, and girls, long-sleeved blouses, under the new code.
Some directors suggested that they only be allowed to wear polo shirts. Opinion on the board was divided as to whether students would be able to find and buy long-sleeved polo shirts.
Munhall resident Darla Urban, who spoke at the voting meeting last Thursday, said she is upset at the proposed changes.
District representatives expect families to buy new wardrobes, she said, but she understands many families in the district receive either free or reduced-price lunches for their children.
A teenage girl who is overly endowed who wears blousy tops to hide it, will no longer be able to do so, Ms. Urban said.
“Let’s enforce the dress code we have now and make the ones who don’t obey pay the consequences,” she said.
Munhall resident Joyce Kornacki also spoke against the dress code.
“This policy is being forced down our throats when there was no public outcry over our current dress code,” she said.
Stephanie McGee of Munhall, Mrs. Kiefer’s daughter, spoke in favor of the dress code. Ms. McGee formerly worked as a security guard in the middle school and high school.
“I’m for the [new] dress code,” she said. “I don’t want to argue with my 9-year-old every day about what to wear.”
The district is looking for additional ways to improve scholastic performance, and school Director Thomas Olson said earlier this year that board members have read studies that show overall grade performance increases when students wear uniforms, or more uniform apparel.
Not all details of the dress code have been worked out. Directors said they will tweak it depending on the results of a special meeting on the dress code and electronic devices set for 6 p.m. Monday.
Only four parents came to the school board’s special meeting about the dress code on April 7.
■ Drectors also voted to give John Zenone, business manager, a four-year contract. Mr. Zenone, who was first appointed in March, will earn $106,000 per year during the contract that will end June 30, 2018.
Anne Cloonan, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.