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Waynesboro school board to continue budget talks Tuesday

April 25, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — The Waynesboro Area School Board is expected to continue hammering out its 2011-12 budget and possible program cuts at a meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The board is looking at areas of its curriculum not mandated by the state to be taught. On its list are some foreign language, technology education, and family and consumer sciences classes, according to Superintendent James Robertson.

“We’re just looking at ways to close the gap,” Robertson said Monday.

The board is grappling with an anticipated $1.9 million deficit, which is after two support staff positions and six teacher positions are cut. Contributing to the deficit is a plan from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett to return K-12 public education funding to 2008-09 levels.

Robertson said he’s prepared documents to send to the state asking to curtail programs, although the board has not committed to any curriculum changes. More important than the state request, the superintendent said, is an internal plan to address scheduling.

“Some board members have different ideas about what should be cut, and that’ll be part of the vetting process,” Robertson said.

The board’s meeting will be held in the administrative offices on Clayton Avenue.

Recent meetings have drawn standing-room-only crowds debating the merits of proposed cuts. Board members encourage the public to not only tout the benefits of their favorite programs, but also suggest other areas to save money.

Because of state restrictions, the school board is limited in the amount by which it can raise taxes. For 2011-12, the board could raise property taxes by up to 6.49 mills.

A mill represents $1 of every $1,000 assessed property value. In the Waynesboro Area School District, the average cost per mill is $17.11 for property owners.

“We will raise taxes. I don’t think you’ll see us raise taxes 6.4 mills,” board member Leland Lemley said last week.

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