$16M budget adopted with no tax hikes
MOUNT CARMEL - Mount Carmel Area School Board passed a $16 million budget for 2012-2013 Thursday night that calls for no tax increase.
Directors also accepted the retirement of elementary school principal Donna Veach, who has served the district for 27 years as a teacher and administrator.
Voting to approve the $16,070,052 spending plan were Directors Nicholas C. Goretski III, Thomas Ditchey, Michael Rovito, Robert Muldowney, Charles Mannello, Dr. Ray Kraynak and Michael Brinkash. Donna James and Raymond D. Kraynak were absent.
Last year's budget totaled $16,671,332.
The board was able to eliminate a proposed $675,000 budget deficit primarily through the retirement of eight teachers and a nurse's aide.
All tax levies will remain the same for the next fiscal year, including a $5 per capita and $10 occupation tax. The board re-enacted the real estate tax rate of 40.47 mills on a dollar for Northumberland County residents and 19.21 mills on a dollar for Columbia County citizens.
One mill is equivalent to $69,000.
Goretski, who serves as board president, said more budget cuts may have to be made in the future.
Before the board voted on the budget, Goretski criticized Gov. Tom Corbett's proposal for a $1.7 billion tax break designed to lure an integrated petroleum chemical industry from the Netherlands to Pennsylvania.
"Corbett believes taxes should be paid by all residents, and raised if necessary, to keep schools functional," Goretski said. "He's willing to give a 25-year discount on paying taxes to a company from out of the country, even though that company will be making a profit on its venture. Meanwhile, school districts throughout the state continue to experience cuts in educational funding."
The board accepted Veach's retirement, which becomes effective June 30.
Ditchey and Goretski commended Veach for her long, dedicated service to the district.
Veach was an elementary school teacher for 23 years at Mount Carmel Area. In addition to serving as elementary school principal for the past year, she was an assistant junior-senior high school principal for one year and principal for two years.
Veach will be retained on a per diem basis based on her 2011-2012 salary until a new elementary school principal is named. The board agreed to advertise for the position after accepting the resignation.
In other business
Rovito was elected board treasurer for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
Solicitor Edward Greco was reappointed at a retainer of $7,500.
Union National Bank was approved as depository for the school district.
Directors approved the 2012-2013 budget for the Northumberland County Career and Technology Center, with Mount Carmel Area's share being $304,861.
The board approved the use of one classroom by the CSIU for the Head Start program at a rental fee of $300 per month.
Directors ratified the purchase of a new telephone system from Berkshire Systems Group at a cost of $28,393.51.
The board approved the resignation of Marion Heights Tax Collector Doris Fernandez and awarded the district's insurance contract to Varano Insurance Agency in the amount of $157,442.
Directors agreed to delay the discontinuation of the KHP plan for current employees until January 2013.
Amy Mudry, Diane Yoder and Jesse Wagner were approved to teach summer school at a rate of $20 per hour for three hours per day for a total of 10 days.
Andrew Yaracz was approved to teach summer math credit recovery at a rate of $20 per hour for 4 1/2 hours per day for a total of 23 days. Students must pay $75 each to attend the class.
The board approved a two-year agreement with Charles J. Mannello, a certified public accountant, to serve as a business consultant for the district. Mannello is a son of board director Charles Mannello.
Directors approved the termination of a lease agreement between the district and Utopian Wireless, effective today.
The board approved a license and right-of-way agreement between the district and state Department of Environmental Protection for the Mount Carmel flood protection project.