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Tyrone Area School Board approves proposed 2008-09 budget with no tax increase

District refunds 1998 $10 million bond issue that saves taxpayers $327k

The Tyrone Area School Board held its regular session last evening at the elementary school. The board unanimously approved the proposed 2008-09 general fund budget that is presently without a tax increase for school district residents.
The 2008-09 proposed budget shows revenues at $21,009,849, with expenditures at $21,782,880 – a difference of $773,031. The 2007-08 budget held revenues totaling $19,873,393, with expenditures of $20,256,645 – a difference of $383,252.
The school district’s proposed budget shows a percentage increase of 5.7 percent in revenues from last year, and a 7.5 percent increase in expenditures.
With the proposed 2008-09 budget, the district is looking at a fund balance by the end of June 2009 of $1,413,062.
Other school districts in the area have proposed millage increases for next year’s budget, but the Tyrone Area School District (TASD) feels confident with leaving taxes where they stand.
TASD Superintendent Dr. William Miller said that the proposed non-increase is largely due to the “good financial management” over a number of years by the school district.
“I think a big issue is where we are in our building program,” said Miller. “A number of districts that are in building programs have to increase taxes for those efforts, and we’ve already accomplished those tasks – that part of it is behind us.”
He continued, “By 2014 our bond issues will be paid off, so that’s a big issue also, and I think it was wise school management by the board and down through. I think that we’re in a position where we can take a hiatus from a tax increase, and still meet the educational needs.”
Miller added that the school district is adding three and a half staff members to reduce class sizes, which he feels shows the serious commitment of the district’s efforts with educational needs.
“It was our sense from a management standpoint that we can address our costs next year without a tax increase,” stated Miller. “It’ll give taxpayers some relief with the way the economy is and everything.”
Board President Lee Stover said the school board still has some questions within the proposed budget. He said that when the board goes to training with the Pennsylvania School Board Association (PSBA), one of the things they teach board members is that districts that continually do well go with small tax increases annually.
“It’s our desire to keep it at no increase if at all possible,” stated Stover. “Even though financially it looks like we have no millage needed, should we put it in? My guess is we’ll probably stay with the administration’s recommendation, but we will discuss it.”
As Miller reiterated, the school district is in good financial standing, and the board made an advancement in that standing last night when it unanimously approved refunding a 1998 bond issue in the amount of $10 million.
The bond was to help finance construction projects in the school district, such as the middle school project.
By refunding the bond, the school district will save taxpayers $327,792.51. The old debt is now at a lower interest rate of 2.25 to 3.250 percent. The winning bidder on the bond was Boenning & Scattergood.
“We had borrowed money at a higher interest rate,” said Miller. “Now that the rates are down, we were able to refund the $10 million and save our taxpayers money.”
Miller added that the bond had nothing to do with the Devon Fraud Case. The school district collected all of the potential money lost in that situation, over $13,000,000 recovered, over a three-year period.

Other school board approvals
• Administrative recommendation on discipline against a ninth grade student for violation of dangerous weapons in the schools, and violations of school rules and regulations.
• The nomination of board member Norman Huff to remain school treasurer.
• An agreement with Dr. Robert Sloss as school dentist with no increase in fee from the 2007-08 rate of $5 per examination for students in kindergarten, grade three and seven.
• An agreement with Dr. Thomas Mextorf of Blair Medical Associates in Tyrone as medical examiner for grade eleven physicals at $6 per examination; sports physicals; and work permit physicals. Kindergarten and sixth grade physicals will also be $6 per examination with money donated back to the elementary school for the art/music departments.
• Dr. Mextorf will also serve as football team physician at $100 per home football game with necessary follow-up services on Saturday morning. Money donated to the Football Booster Club.
• The purchase of playground equipment through state contract with Snider & Associates, Inc. in a total amount not to exceed $36,000.Other school board approvals
• Administrative recommendation on discipline against a ninth grade student for violation of dangerous weapons in the schools, and violations of school rules and regulations.
• The nomination of board member Norman Huff to remain school treasurer.
• An agreement with Dr. Robert Sloss as school dentist with no increase in fee from the 2007-08 rate of $5 per examination for students in kindergarten, grade three and seven.
• An agreement with Dr. Thomas Mextorf of Blair Medical Associates in Tyrone as medical examiner for grade eleven physicals at $6 per examination; sports physicals; and work permit physicals. Kindergarten and sixth grade physicals will also be $6 per examination with money donated back to the elementary school for the art/music departments.
• Dr. Mextorf will also serve as football team physician at $100 per home football game with necessary follow-up services on Saturday morning. Money donated to the Football Booster Club.
• The purchase of playground equipment through state contract with Snider & Associates, Inc. in a total amount not to exceed $36,000.