Upper St. Clair schools update proposed budget

Published Jun 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm (Updated Jun 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm)

Administrators in the Upper St. Clair School District presented updates to the 2014-15 budget at the June 9 school board meeting. While the school board approved the proposed final budget in May, changes can still be made until the final budget is approved at the June 17 meeting.

As of June 9, expenditures for the district’s 2014-15 budget are at $69,524,887, up from $69,145,201 in May. The proposed millage rate of 22.1957 is the same as the rate proposed in May. The millage rate for 2013-14 was 21.4130

The new proposed millage rate would mean an increase of about $178 per year in taxes for a homeowner with a house valued at $227,850, the median home value in Upper St. Clair. That means the homeowner’s school taxes would go from $4,879 to $5,057 per year.

The district’s capital reserve fund sits at about $425,000 and its fund balance at $4,262,878.

“We hope between now and next week to have additional improvements,” said Frosina Cordisco, director of finance for the school district.

High School track

David McLean of McLean Architects presented a $10,875 change order to the high school’s track project. The track project was originally bid at about $490,000 for milling and resurfacing work.

McLean explained that the contractor on the project, Northern Athletic, has removed the existing asphalt and while milling it, some of the top layer of asphalt had not adhered to the other layers properly. The additional $10,875 would be for 125 to 150 additional tons of asphalt for the track in order for it to meet elevation levels.

McLean said that the additional work would “make sure that everything that’s loose and not bonded gets out of there.” He added, “It was not a mishandling of the milling process,” but the nature of the layers of asphalt in general that would require the additional tonnage.

Board member Harry Kunselman voiced concern that it “sounds like the track condition was known before the milling started.” He questioned why it was something the district would have to pay for in that case.

McLean said because the paving was done in a series of overlays in the past there wasn’t a way to tell what would happen when the milling started. “A good bit held,” he said.

He added that the board could have bid out the project differently to include a new-sub base in the track but that would have been an “enormous cost.” He said if it was bid like that, the track project would have been in the $600,000 range.

“It’s a legitimate extra to the contract,” McLean said.

Board member Louis Oliverio was concerned that the contract stated that there was a “likelihood” that this situation would occur. He said if that was the case, the district should not have to pay for the additional asphalt.

Board member Rebecca Stern said the district would have been looking at higher bids if the contract was worded differently.

“This was the most consistent way to go about it,” Stern said.

The board will discuss the matter again at the June 17 meeting with a possible vote coming at that time.

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