Moon Area's proposed budget rejected

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Moon Area school board Monday night rejected the administration's preliminary budget proposal, voting instead to limit a tax increase to no more than 0.3561 mill. That would be an increase of $35.61 per $100,000 of real estate property value.

Superintendent Donna Milanovich urged the board to reconsider its 5-3 vote against allowing the district the option of increasing taxes enough to cover an approximately $2.5 million budgeting shortfall in the $64.42 million proposed budget.

Directors Denny Harbaugh, Laura Schisler, Ronald Steele, Jerry Testa and Gia Tatone voted against the budget. Michael Olszewski was absent.

Mrs. Milanovich said the district should consider raising taxes to "keep our level of service to our children," because "all of that takes money."

"You need to keep your options open," she said after also reminding the board that "in an Act 1 environment it is impossible to build up a fund balance."

District contributions to the Pennsylvania School Employment Retirement System for the 2013-2014 year are $2.22 million, according to preliminary budget data posted on the district website, www.moonarea.net.

This number may vary slightly in response to changes suggested by Gov. Tom Corbett's state budgetary proposals, which include a pension reform plan.

While this state-level reform is in preliminary stages, changes appear to significantly affect only new hires.

"I don't want the public to think, oh, the pension problem is solved," said Mr. Testa. The final budget is to be adopted by June 30.

An updated five-year capital reserve fund expenditure plan of $2.496 million was announced by James Heck, director of operations.

Turf replacement is planned at the high school football field at an estimated cost of $572,000. Track resurfacing at $72,120 also is being considered.

The plan calls for more lockers in the high school to address a projected increase in student population. The high school has around 1,100 lockers and expects a student population of about 1,320 by 2014-2015. Mr. Heck estimates cost and installation at $18,000.

A salt spreader will be purchased out of the capital reserve fund at a cost of $4,295.

Work plans for the district's five elementary schools include some of the following:

• New carpeting and paving/patching projects at Bon Meade over all five years.

• Brooks -- $640,000 roof replacement project in 2015 and other improvements, including $108,000 for asphalt replacement in front of the school.

• McCormick -- $8,000 asphalt sealing.

• Allard and Hyde -- various improvements including roof replacement and renovations.

Directors will consider each capital improvement item separately before work is done.

A salt spreader will also be purchased out of the capital reserve fund at a cost of $4,295.

• Moon Area kindergarten student roundup will be March 19-22 in Sharon Community Presbyterian Church, 522 Carnot Road, adjacent to Moon Area's secondary school campus. Registration will be March 19 for Bon Meade, March 20 for Bon Meade and McCormick, March 21 for Brooks, and March 22 for Allard and Hyde.

Call the registrar's office at 412-264-9440, ext.1132, by March 10 to schedule a mandatory appointment.

education - neigh_west

Sonja Reis, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com


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