TASD officials discuss 2007-08 budget

The Tyrone Area School District Board and Administration are in the process of finalizing their 2007-08 budget.
The school district is forced to and attempting to cut back in a few areas in the proposed budget.
Revenues in the proposed budget are listed at $19,873,393 with proposed expenditures listed at $20,256,196, leaving the district $1,554,329 in debt.
The average taxpayer increase will be $528.26 for Blair County residents, an increase of $19.03 from last year; $623.55 for Centre County residents, an increase of $43.79 from last year; and $861.98 for Huntingdon County residents, an increase of $53.85. Other sources of revenue will include a 3 percent increase of the earned income tax over the 2006-07 budget. Tuition will also see a $49,000 increase due to Bellwood-Antis students attending Tyrone special education classes.
In the proposed 2007-08 budget, there lists an increase in the state revenue. State revenue is broken down into several categories. Basic instruction will increase by $208,053 and special education will show an increase of $34,696. Alternative education will see an increase of $36,000 and there will be $46,153 more in extra grants. There will also be an increase to the funds the district receives for Charter School to $11,734 and retirement to $43,949. However, there will be a decrease in state revenues for Vocational Education and rental reimbursement. Vocational education will see a $13,711 decrease and rental reimbursement will see a $12,230 decrease.
Federal revenues reflect a slight increase over the 2006-07 budget due to an inclusion of Drug Free School funds and an increase in Title 1. However, all Perkins funding has been eliminated for the 2007-08 year. Perkins funding was used to fund the salaries of Vocational Instructional Assistants. The district has included the expense for Vocational Instructional Assistants in the proposed 2007-08 budget. The district has stated that all other federal grants have been budgeted at the 2006-07 level and will not see an increase.
Various school district expenditures will increase including health insurance at an increase of $79,967 over the 2006-07 budget. The increase is based on the projected trend in health care and drug costs. Dental insurance will increase by $6,518 over the 2006-07 budget. The district will also have an increase of retirement. The rate has increased to 7.65 percent which represents an increase of $30,733 for the district’s share.
Tuition payments will increase by $36,771 due to an increase in the number of students expected to participate in vocational programs at the Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center and an additional student placed at an approved private school.
Expenditures will also be increasing due to renovations to the TAHS pool that will cost $180,000, needed repairs to the roof of the high school gym at $170,500, replacement of the glass in the high school lobby at a cost of $50,000, and replacement of two school district vans at a cost of $45,854.
Another increase will be the cost for textbooks needed for the 2007-08 school year. This is due to the adoption of a new math series that the district will begin using in grades K-12 next fall. The total amount that the budget for textbooks will increase is by $44,893. Transportation costs for district students will also increase. The total increased cost for transportation will be $67,072. The state will reimburse the district approximately 75 percent of the increased cost.
According to Superintendent William Miller and Business Administrator Cathy Peachey, the district is taking measures to try to balance the proposed budget. Due to retirements, there will be two grade 6 teaching positions opening at the end of the current school year. These teachers will not be replaced and their positions collapsed.
There will also be a grade 3 position opening at the end of the current school year due to a retirement. This position will also be collapsed.
At the high school level, a high school science teacher will be retiring and this position will be collapsed.
Another proposed savings will be to eliminate the part-time elementary-middle school instrumental music teacher and band director.
There are also five other teaching positions that are opening at the end of the current school year due to retirements. These positions include a grade 1 position, grade 2 position, high school French/Spanish, high school business education, and high school special education. The teachers in these positions will be replaced. However, due to seniority, their replacements will have lesser salaries than that of the retiring teachers which district officials stated will help their budget. This will save the district $426,889.
The district will also be eliminating a physical education aide and collapsing a paraprofessional position. Both elementary and middle/high school library aide positions are open due to retirements. Due to seniority, their replacements will be hired at a lesser salary than that of the retiring library aides. The district will also be saving money due to replacing the school psychologist and assistant superintendent who are both retiring in June.
There are also two consultant positions that will eliminated. This includes the positions of technology consultant and special education transition coordinator. These duties will be assumed by existing staff for a total savings of $30,000. The individuals who held these positions resigned and will not be replaced.
The adoption of the proposed budget will be completed at the June 12 School Board meeting.