Woodland Hills school board rejects 2014-15 budget

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It's back to the drawing board for the Woodland Hills School District's proposed final budget for the 2014-15 school year. The board voted against the budget -- which included a possible 2.8 percent tax hike to 23.02 mills for homeowners and more than a dozen possible teacher furloughs district-wide -- at Wednesday night's legislative meeting. The budget was voted down in a 3-4 vote.

The district is required to put a proposed final budget on public display for 30 days before approving a final budget by the state-mandated June 30 deadline.

Board member Marilyn Messina said the proposed final budget should "as closely as possible" resemble the final budget, and called the budget "divisive."

"Whatever the statement or the goal of our district is, we need to put that in front of everybody so we can explain the decisions we're looking to make," Ms. Messina said at the meeting.

The board unanimously voted to approve the resignation of board member Jeffrey Cobbs, effective immediately. Mr. Cobbs gave a verbal resignation several weeks ago after he was found guilty of assaulting his pregnant wife in a 2012 incident. Interested candidates who are registered voters and have been residents of either Swissvale, Braddock, Rankin or Edgewood for at least a year must submit a letter of interest before May 30. The term would last through 2015.

At the opening of the meeting, Mr. Johnson requested the removal of an action item for members to vote on the hiring of Eugene Marraccini as business manager due to a "lack of consensus" among board members. Pete Camarda has served as interim business manager since March of this school year.

The school calendar for the upcoming year was also voted down in a 4-3 vote.

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