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Greencastle-Antrim board to vote on cutting support staff, sports or teachers

Even if the board approves outsourcing support staff, the district still is recommending a 2-mill property tax increase to balance the budget

April 02, 2013|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — Faced with a $1.4 million budget deficit, the Greencastle-Antrim School Board will vote Thursday whether to outsource support staff positions, cut athletics and extracurricular activities, or not replace four retiring teachers.

With the Greencastle-Antrim School District looking for places to cut to cinch up the gaping hole in its $34 million 2013-14 budget, the administration is recommending that the board approve outsourcing support staff, which includes transportation, cafeteria, custodial and technology services.  

Superintendent C. Gregory Hoover said it comes down to three options.

Hoover said four teachers are retiring.

If the board votes not to replace those teaching positions, the district could save about $100,000 per teaching position with benefits, Hoover said.

“But our class size has risen over the past couple of years because we have not been replacing teachers,” Hoover said. “We have one of the largest staff-to-student ratios in the state of Pennsylvania. We need those positions and that’s one of the choices that the board has to make whether they want to outsource or not replace those (retiring) teachers.”

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Another option is to drop athletics and extracurricular activities, which would save the district about $467,000, Hoover said.

“That’s denying opportunities to students and that’s not what I would recommend,” he said.

“Personally, I don’t like any of (the options),” Hoover said. “I think it’s best for kids that we keep the four teachers, and we do not eliminate extracurricular activities and athletics. So unfortunately, by default, the outsourcing is the other option.”

Even if the board approves outsourcing, Hoover said the district still is recommending a 2-mill property tax increase to balance the budget.

“We’re faced with a $1.4 million deficit,” Hoover said. “The options are limited and so the recommendation is to outsource transportation, custodian/maintenance, technology and cafeteria.”

Outsourcing support staff positions would save the district at least $600,000 per year, he said.

Approximately 90 support staff positions would be affected, including about 16 personnel in transportation, five in technology, 30 cafeteria staff and 30 custodial/maintenance staff, Hoover said.

“If this goes through the outsourcing, they will be offered jobs with the other companies,” Hoover said. “Part of our contract is that they offer our employees the jobs.”

The salaries with the new companies will be close to what the employees are making with the district. The biggest difference will be health care and retirement, Hoover said.

The Public School Employees' Retirement System, commonly referred to as PSERS, is the whole genesis of the move, he said.

“PSERS has gone up $400,000 this year, and it’s probably going to go up another $400,000 to $500,000 next year. It keeps climbing,” Hoover said of what the district pays into its employees’ retirement accounts.

Public meeting

What: The Greencastle-Antrim School Board will discuss budget cuts

When: Thursday, 6 p.m.

Where: Greencastle-Antrim Middle School library

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