News Column

Monessen predicts no school tax hike

May 14, 2014

By Rick Bruni Jr., The Valley Independent, Monessen, Pa.



May 14--The Monessen School Board received preliminary figures for the 2014-2015 budget.

Officials at an informational meeting Tuesday predicted a property tax increase will not be necessary.

Under state law, the board must post a tentative budget by month's end and adopt a final spending plan by June 30.

The preliminary estimates call for expenditures of $13,882,105 -- a slight increase from last year.

The property tax rate is expected to remain at 68 mills, business manager Linda Powell said.

Enrollment is expected to be 849 students, with an expenditure of $16,351 per pupil.

Fifty-two percent of next year's spending will be for instruction, with 20 percent budgeted for support services and 13 percent for facilities and operating costs, according to Powell's numbers.

A tentative budget is scheduled to be available for public review at the superintendent's office from May 22 through June 19 -- the day the board is expected to adopt a final spending plan.

The board is exploring a plan with Janney Montgomery Scott LLC to refinance a general obligation bond from 2009. The bond issue's total obligation is $8,170,000, Powell said.

Powell emphasized that refinancing the bond issue would not increase debt and would provide a lower interest rate for the next five years. The bond issue is one of two on the district's books.

Hill said the district is pushing back principal payments in hopes that more federal and state money for education will be provided in the coming years.

School board President Donna Fantauzzi said the next few business meeting dates will vary from the usual time of the second Tuesday of each month.

The board's May business meeting has been moved to May 21 because of Election Day. Its June business meeting has been moved to June 19 to allow for the budget to be available for public view for the required 30-day period before it can be approved.

The June agenda meeting will be on the regular day, June 3. All meetings start at 7 p.m.

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbruni@tribweb.com or 724-684-2635.

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(c)2014 The Valley Independent (Monessen, Pa.)

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Source: Valley Independent (Monessen, PA)