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School budget get passing vote

Officials cut two teaching positions and some training money from the budget before giving it final approval

Officials cut two teaching positions and some training money from the budget before giving it final approval

June 27, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg school board cut two teaching positions, staff and training money from the proposed 2002-03 budget before approving it Wednesday night.

The cuts total $228,542 and the savings will go into the fund balance in anticipation of major expenditures in the coming years, including a new high school and increased payments into the state retirement fund.

The $62.2 million budget includes a 2.49-mill increase.

The cuts include a social studies position at Chambersburg Area Senior High School, a reading position at Faust Junior High School, replacing the supervisor of special education position with an instructional aide, reducing the custodial staff by three and cutting staff development funds by $50,000. The cuts were made to positions already open through retirement or resignation.

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The board approved the budget 8-1 with board member Thomas Orndorf dissenting.

"It's nice to put money away for a rainy day, but we have no real idea of what it's going to do," Orndorf said.

"If we don't start getting ready for this now, we're not going to be in a position to do anything," Superintendent Edwin Sponseller said.

The board was forced to approve the budget not knowing if the state will come through with more money for schools later this week.

Chambersburg area school directors were to vote on the budget June 12, but postponed the meeting to see if legislators would pass a state budget with more than a 1 percent increase in school funding.

However, legislators have taken it down to the wire and finally reached an agreement with Gov. Mark Schweiker late Wednesday.

Legislators were expected to vote on the budget today.

The school district must also have its budget in place by then to start the new fiscal year Monday and send out tax notices.

Business Manager Rick Vensel said 95 percent of the school districts in the state have passed their budgets so he doubts the state will require the district to refund taxes based on any increased funding.

An additional 1 percent in the basic education subsidy from the state would mean about $155,000 more for the Chambersburg Area School District and would go into the fund balance, Sponseller said.

The new budget is a 3.7 percent increase over last year, and with the 2.49-mill tax increase, it covers salary increases, higher health insurance costs and new cyber school costs.

The tax increase means homeowners will pay about $43 more a year if they own a $100,000 house. A mill equals $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property.

The amount of the tax increase has steadily dropped since January when Sponseller first told the school board it might take a 7-mill increase to balance the budget.

A bill passed in April by the Pennsylvania General Assembly significantly reduced the amount local school districts must pay into the state retirement fund.

Chambersburg had expected the new retirement rate would cost the district $790,000, but that was dropped to slightly below $200,000.

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