Moon Area board approves budget; spending up 1.8 percent

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Moon Area school directors have approved a $63.47 million budget for 2013-14, lowering the millage tax rate from 21.3 to 18.12 for property owners in Crescent and Moon.

Despite the lower rate, some property owners could face a higher tax bill because of Allegheny County property reassessments.

For taxpayers owning a home valued at the median of $155,000, the property tax bill will be $2,808.00 before an Act 1 homestead reduction of $129.67, if qualified. Each mill is estimated to generate $2,214,900.

Passed with 7-1 vote with Director Jerry Testa voting against and Sam Tranter absent, the budget marks a 1.8 percent increase in spending. Total expenses are $62.4 million. This increase is attributed to higher costs of employee salaries and benefits.

The budget will be balanced by using approximately $1.2 million of the fund balance, which is estimated to be $6.82 million as of June 30, 2014.

The district's largest expenditures, employee salary and benefits, will total nearly $27 million and $12.9 million respectively. Employee retirement benefit costs were raised 37 percent due to increased district contributions to the Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement System.

New mathematics curriculum adoption for grades K-6 will be funded through this budget, which also allots $250,000 for an upgrade to technology district-wide.

A $560,000 lease to finance technology purchases including iPads for the high school and elementary levels and the new curriculum adoption will be procured through Municipal Leasing Consultants of Grand Isle, VT.

The proposal was approved at a rate of 1.69 percent over five years, with Directors Laura Schisler and Ron Steele opposing.

In other matters, directors have initiated a search for the next superintendent to succeed Donna Milanovich, who is retiring Friday. Bon Meade Elementary principal Maureen Ungarean will serve as acting superintendent.

The district is seeking feedback from the community on the superintendent search. Parents and other residents, students and employees are invited to participate in a survey: www.surveymonkey.com/s/Moon_Area_Search.

The survey will be available through Saturday. Results will be considered by the board in development of a profile of characteristics and qualifications to evaluate candidates.

Directors also have approved payment of $12,500 to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association to perform an executive search to assist in the selection. Payment will be made from the general fund.

Also the University Boulevard entrance into the campus is closed while crews complete construction work. It will reopen before school starts. Visitors can to use the Beaver Grade Road entrance.

education - neigh_west

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


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