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MARION CENTER: Directors consider options for preparing next budget

by on January 21, 2014 10:50 AM

MARION CENTER — The Marion Center Area school directors Monday heard options for preparing a 2014-15 budget and next week are expected to choose between two paths.

District business manager Richard Martini said the directors next week could pass a resolution stating the district will pass a budget that does not exceed the Act 1 index for 2014-15 of 2.9 percent, which would cap any tax increase at 3.03 mills. Or, as the other option, the directors may put a proposed preliminary budget on display that would need to be acted on at the board’s Feb. 17 meeting.

Martini said Gov. Tom Corbett is scheduled to present his state funding proposals for education on Feb. 4, and for that reason Martini’s recommendation would be to take the option of putting a preliminary budget on display.

“That gives the board the most flexibility,” he said.

A draft of the preliminary budget distributed Monday projects spending next year at nearly $23.4 million, an increase of about 4.6 percent over the current budget. That early version of the budget also shows a shortfall of nearly $167,000, or the equivalent of more than 3 mills of real estate taxes.

The directors also received a budget balancing worksheet listing areas, items and programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce expenses next year. The directors must adopt a final budget by June 30.

The directors Monday also received an update from representatives of the architectural and engineering firm of HHSDR on plans to replace the domestic water boiler and hot water supply and return valves for the water system at the high school-McCreery Elementary School campus.

The plans call for the water heater to be replaced with two smaller high-efficiency water heaters, one dedicated to supplying hot water for the food service department.

Bids are expected to be opened and contracts let in February. The replacement work will be done over the summer.

The directors Monday heard a presentation from Tyson Ellenberger and Rebecca Koulter of the high school’s Business Department on the required and elective courses students take and regional business-related competitions the Marion Center students participate in.

There are approximately 40 students enrolled in the business curriculum.

In a voting agenda item at Monday’s work session, the directors hired Dan Walters as a long-term elementary guidance counselor at a salary of $101.09 per day.

Among the agenda items for consideration at next week’s voting session is a proposal for a world language program that would allow students to voluntarily begin learning French or Spanish sooner than their freshman year.

Randy Wells has been a reporter and staff writer at The Indiana Gazette since 1988. His regular assignments include coverage of the Indiana County commissioners, Indiana Borough council and the Marion Center Area School District. His email address is
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