Peters preliminary budget passes

Published Jan 22, 2014 at 4:28 pm (Updated Jan 22, 2014 at 4:28 pm)

The unknown costs associated with retirement contributions and special education mandates are two of the reasons the Peters Township School Board passed a preliminary 2014-15 budget five months early during a Jan. 21 meeting.

If those two increases force the district to raise school taxes higher than the state-permitted index of about 2 percent, the district would need an exception to the state’s Act 1.

The preliminary budget of $56,969,422 passed unanimously and without discussion. Board members Lynn Erenberg and William Merrell were absent. The board also passed the $1,036,519 technology budget, and the $436,200 curriculum budget, both of which are included in the general fund budget that must be adopted by June 30.

The Jan. 21 action was necessary as a preliminary budget must be passed before the district applies for the exception to Act 1.

Vincent Belczyk, district business manager, stressed the board will work to reduce the preliminary budget once the retirement and special education figures are received. Belczyk said there is the potential the district’s contribution to the retirement fund could increase by 25 percent.

If no reductions are accomplished, taxes could go up 4 1/2 to 5 mills with a maximum of 5.142 mills if the state grants the exception. The current rate is 102 mills, the second lowest in Washington County.

The current teachers’ contract expires June 30, 2015. Talks between the teachers’ union and the district will begin next January.

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