South Fayette School District getting closer with budget
At the April 23 regular meeting of the South Fayette School Board of Directors, administrators presented an updated look at the district’s 2013-14 proposed preliminary budget. The budget includes expenditures of $41,848,126 and an adjusted base millage rate – without taking any exceptions or taking the budget to the allowed 2.1 percent index – would be 23.9518 mills. The millage rate had to be adjusted due to the recent county reassessment. Last year’s school millage rate was 28.8241.
At an April 16 meeting, Brian Tony, director of finance for the district, said South Fayette was approved for $346,570 in Public School Employees’ Retirement System Contribution (PSERS) exceptions, but was not approved for any special education exceptions.
The maximum millage rate for the 2013-14 school year, taking the exception and going to the 2.1 percent index, which is about 0.5029 mills, currently stands at 24.7657. That number could change as assessment figures are received by the district. Unlike the township, which has a margin of error of five percent during a reassessment year, the school district cannot take any windfall.
Tony said one change to the budget since the April 16 meeting was cutting the Intermediate School’s library aide position from full-time to part-time.
Superintendent Dr. Bille Rondinelli said that prior to final approval of the budget, the board may want to schedule a special budget meeting in June to talk about the budget. “This is a work in progress,” she said.
The board will continue to review the budget at upcoming meetings. A final budget must be passed by the board by the end of June.
Technology at South Fayette
The board unanimously approved entering into an agreement with Schoolwires to create and provide a district app for smart phones and tablets. The initial startup cost for the app is $3,250 with an annual cost of $1,000. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Michael Loughead said once the app is ready to go, folks can download the Schoolwires app from their devices and then configure it for the South Fayette district. The app will include headlines, school calendars and events.
Loughead, along with middle school social studies teacher Scott Philipp, presented a demonstration of an iPad textbook geared for seventh-graders at South Fayette. Philipp wrote the curriculum for the book after going through training on how to use the iAuthor tool through the Apple Corporation.
Philipp demonstrated how interactive the iTextbook can be and handed out iPads so that the school board members could also get a feel for the iBook.
Philipp wrote a total of six books for the new seventh grade social studies curriculum, which focuses on United States history.
Loughead said the iTextbook is still “under development.”