Bethel Park approves preliminary budget

Published Feb 22, 2013 at 10:59 am (Updated Feb 22, 2013 at 10:59 am)

Bethel Park School Board members unanimously approved a preliminary budget of $77,115,484 for the 2013-2014 school year on Feb. 19.

District officials stressed that the budget is very preliminary and that there will be many changes made before a final budget is adopted in a few months.

The district needed to adopt a preliminary budget this month in order to submit for an Act 1 referendum exception for retirement contribution expenditures, explained Superintendent Nancy Rose.

The board members also approved a motion to apply for the exemption, but may not have to use it if the final budget does not require a real estate tax increase above that which is allowed under state Act 1.

In other business, school board members and district administration officials said they have not made any final decisions about curriculum changes in regard to lowering the number of credits for high school graduation, but they have increased the credit value given to physical education courses.

Currently, students receive 1/4 credit for each semester of physical education, which means that they must complete four semesters of the course to reach the graduation requirement of one full credit. The district recently changed the credit value to a 1/2 credit per semester, meaning that students will only need two semesters of physical education to graduate. The change will begin with the 2013-2014 school year.

Pam Dobos, a resident and retired teacher, told the board that she hoped it would reconsider making the change to less required gym classes.

“Physical education is a lifelong skill,” Dobos said.

The district currently requires students to complete 27 high school credits to graduate, but is considering lowering that number to allow students more time to participate in internships, take college courses or take remedial classes in order to pass the Keystone Exams.

The state requires students to complete a minimum of 21 credits for high school graduation.

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