TA tax increase on table
BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Wyoming County Press Examiner
The Tunkhannock Area School Board’s budget committee met Thursdaay before the regular school board meeting to look at the 2013-14 budget.
On the table is a $45.3 million budget which as it stands would see taxes go up two mills to 70.10 for residents of the Tunkhannock Area School District.
It is only numbers, business manager P.J. O’Shea asserted, while identifying highlights.
Budget committee chair Sandra Lane asked that the committee have a full review of the numbers on Monday, May 6 at 7 p.m.
O’Shea said the budget reflected a 35 percent increase in contribution toward PSERS state retirement.
He also noted there was a $230,000 increase in expenses for variety of upgrades including, most notably a track resurfacing and additional safety measures taken in all of the school buildings.
Regarding some other increases, O’Shea noted that special education expenses were up almost $500,000 from what was budgeted for 2012-13.
Board member Rob Parry said a large chunk of that was going to cyber charter schools.
In fact, he said, “Almost $1 million in next year’s budget is going to people not even educated here.”
It is an absolute travesty to the taxpayer that more than $10,000 per child is going out and the expenses are unaccountable to no one with any curriculum standards.
Superintendent Michael Healey said that if the bill were not paid the state would tae the money out of its subsidy..
“If the taxpayer understood this, there’d be an outcry to fix this,” Parry said. “But it’s out of our hands.”
In other business, a memorandum of understanding was approved with the Tunkhannock Area Educational Support Personal Association which keeps healthcare provisions intact and add a 50 cents per hour wage increase over the current year.
The board als approved a second reading to new school policy revisions dealing with extracurricular activities, interscholastic athletics, purchases subject to bid, purchases budgeted, and procedures for use of district-owned vehicles.