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Plum School Board to Vote on Final Budget Tuesday

The board is expected to vote on a final budget that holds taxes steady but cuts the junior high Family & Consumer Sciences/high school Drivers' Education programs.

The Plum Borough School District 2012-13 budget has changed since the board last month, but cuts to elective programs and three teaching positions still are included.

On Tuesday, Superintendent Timothy Glasspool presented an updated version of the $55.6 million, which included an additional $7,333 in revenue and an additional $232,367 in expenses—that includes the purchase of new laptops, and money to go toward the resurfacing of the track and additional parking at the high school.

Because officials are set on not raising real estate taxes for residents, the extra expenses most likely will be covered from the district's fund balance of about $6 million. The current millage is 22.2 mills, and it has not increased since 2005.

Officials had discussed taking $1.1 million from the fund balance and cutting the Family & Consumer Sciences and high school Drivers' Education programs to offset a $1.4 million. However, as of Tuesday, officials discussed taking $1.3 million from the fund balance to cover the additional expenses added to the budget, as well as cutting the programs.

The board also is considering taking an additional $3 million from the fund balance to put into a capital reserve fund for school building renovations.

Colleen Prokopik, Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at Plum High School, asked the board to reconsider cutting the electives.

"I never heard a justification as to why the junior high program is being eliminated," she said. "The community has supported our program."

Board member Loretta White, who did not support the preliminary budget, said she thinks its too soon to cut programs.

"I think we need an academic plan before we cut anything," she said.

Prokopik suggested that board members take a creative approach to the situation, such as adding lab fees or applying for grants to offset the expense versus cutting the program entirely.

J.R. Pilyih, treasurer of the Plum Borough Education Association, asked how much of a surplus the district would end the year with.

"This is important to know when you're cutting programs," he said.

District Business Manager Gene Marraccini said officials won't know until the end of the month and it's still not known how much money the district will receive in state education funding.

The budget drafts have changed considerably since January, when the district projected a nearly .

A copy of the full preliminary budget can be viewed here, or at the superintendent's office in the high school complex. Officials are expected to vote on the final budget on June 26 at 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium. A final budget must be passed by June 30.

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