West Mifflin schools brace for cuts
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Officials of the West Mifflin Area School District are predicting significant cuts for the 2012-2013 school year.
Business Manager Dennis Cmar told the board at its workshop session Thursday that the expenses in the current draft of the spending plan for next year exceed revenues by $3.5 million.
Superintendent Daniel Castagna told the board he will present them with a balanced budget in March that includes significant cuts, among them a recommendation to close one elementary school.
"There are going to be emotionally difficult decisions for some people to accept," Mr. Castagna said.
The board approved a resolution in December vowing not to raise taxes beyond its Act 1 limit of 0.55 mills.
Mr. Cmar did not blame the state budget presented Tuesday though that budget maintained significant education funding cuts begun last year.
Mr. Cmar said state revenue was at the level he had anticipated.
But what continues to hurt the district is the decline in assessed real estate values, particularly for commercial structures.
He cited recent losses in revenue from assessments of hangars at the Allegheny County Airport after the county or one of its authorities took possession of the hangars.
He said the district lost about $90,000 on two recent transactions alone.
In addition, Mr. Cmar said revenues in the budget were based on the county holding a countywide reassessment this year in which school districts and municipalities would have been permitted to keep a 5 percent windfall.
But because of court challenges the reassessment has been held off until 2013.
"That 5 percent would have given us additional revenue," Mr. Cmar said.
First Published February 10, 2012 9:49 am