Wednesday, February 6, 2013
The district will consider refinancing a bond taken out in 2003 at a lower interest rate.
Seneca Valley could see savings of more than $400,000 by refinancing a bond taken out in 2003. Lynn Burtner, the district business manager, said the district owes $8.86 million, plus interest, on the bond, which is due to be paid off by 2017. However, the bond is available to be refinanced at a lower interest rate on July 1, 2013, she said. By refinancing, Burtner said the district could lower the interest rate from 3.5 percent to less than 1 percent. She recommended spreading out the estimated savings of more than $400,000 over the next three to four years. The school board is expected to vote at their next meeting at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11 on whether to move forward with the refinancing process. If all goes according to plan, the …
Sunday, January 20, 2013
The issues are many, but which stands out as the one most important to America?
A flurry of festivities will set Washington, D.C. in motion this week as President Barack Obama is sworn in Monday for his second term in office. With "Faith in America's Future" as the theme for the 2013 inauguration, the celebration will reflect the country's perseverance and unity, as well as commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the placement of the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol Dome in 1863. The inaugural address, parade, and a number of balls and galas that honor the president will have a certain priority of their own. But when the hoopla dies down, there's some serious work to be done. Through the last year, our Patch Polls have focused on some of the major issues facing the country. This week, …
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The district has until June to balance the budget.
Although it’s barely a month into the New Year, Seneca Valley already is working the numbers for next year’s budget. At Monday’s school board meeting, business manager Lynn Burtner said early numbers show the district could face a $3 million shortfall for the 2013-14 school year. “Now remember, the preliminary budget gets worked and worked and worked until we have a proposed final and a final budget in May and June,” she said. The numbers, which Burtner called very preliminary, showed expenditures at $102 million and revenue at $99 million if Seneca Valley updates its current plan and rolls it into the coming school year only. The numbers do not take into account changes in state funding the district may receive once Gov. Tom Corbett …
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Letter writer Earl Grubbs offers his suggestions on how Seneca Valley officials should handle future budget shortfalls without increasing property taxes.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
During the June 25, 2012 SVSD Board Meeting to approve a 4.4 mill increase of the 2012-2013 budget which culminated in a 10-percent homeowner tax increase over the past two years, one SVSD board member indicated that "we have cut the 2012-2013 budget to the bone," another targeted the Commonwealth for the SVSD budget ills and one even had the audacity to say "We could have raised taxes to 5.71 mils as an exception approved by the state." That being said, it is worthy of note that our increased homeowner taxes are funding 12 administrators with salaries from $100K to $163K, eight employees with $90K-$99K range, 172 employees with salaries of $80K to $89K, 154 employees with salaries in the $60K-$69K range, 148 employees with salaries of $…
Friday, July 13, 2012
Both schools kept their promise of keeping tuition hikes at or below the consumer price index if state lawmakers maintained funding at current levels.
Sending your kid to Pitt or Penn State? Ka-ching! The boards of trustees of both schools voted Friday to increase tuition, but kept their promise to state lawmakers to hold the hikes at or below the consumer price index, in exchange for no additional cuts in state funding. A student at Penn State's University Park flagship campus will see an increase of 2.9 percent over last year's tuition cost of $15,124. That figure does not include room and board. The increase is the lowest percentage tuition boost in 45 years and one of the smallest in the nation, according to university officials, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Tuition at the university's 19 branch campuses will increase by 1.9 percent, and out-of-state undergraduates at the …
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
The district is searching for a replacement for Greg Caprara, who was with the district for eight years.
An acting athletic director and a new assistant superintendent were among close to half a dozen new appointments Seneca Valley School Board members approved Monday. A former sixth-grade teacher at Evans City Middle School with experience coaching track, cross country and football, William Roccia was named interim athletic director as a rate of $250 per day. He replaces Greg Caprara, whose contract will not be renewed when it expires Friday, according to the district. “It simply was a decision by district officials to go in a different direction,” said Linda Andreassi, Seneca Valley’s director of communications. Caprara joined the district in 2004. Prior to that, he served as interim athletic director at the Fox Chapel Area School District…
Monday, June 25, 2012
The spending plan addresses at $4.8 million shortfall for next year.
In a 6-3 vote, Seneca Valley School Board members on Monday gave final approval to a $97.4 million budget for 2012-13 school year that includes a 4.4 mill increase in real estate taxes. By cutting more than a dozen positions—and increasing student activity, lunch and parking fees—the budget closes a $4.8 million dollar shortfall the district faced next year. School board members Jim Nickel, James Welsh and Eric DiTullio voted against approving the budget. Nicke continued to advocate raising property taxes by 3.9 mills, which is .5 mills less than the 4.4 mills approved by the board. “I think that it's a little further than we should go in this process in terms of revenue generation,” he said of the millage increase. Each mill of tax yields…
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
School board members are expected to vote on a finalized budget June 25.
The budget—and the proposed millage rate that goes along with it—was the center of discussion Monday as Seneca Valley school board members prepare to vote next week on a finalized spending plan. In a 7-1 vote, officials in May approved a proposed $97.2 million budget that closes a $4.8 million dollar shortfall for the 2012-13 school year—and includes a 4.4 mill increase in real estate taxes. After arguing in favor of instead raising property taxes by 3.9 mills, school board member Jim Nickel was the lone dissenting vote Each mill of tax yields about $500,000, meaning .5 mills would generate about $250,000. Nickel previously had suggested reducing the contingency fund, which is money reserved for emergency repairs or other unexpected …
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Cranberry Township resident Earl Grubbs writes that retired homeowners and the elderly cannot afford more tax increases.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
While I applaud the Seneca Valley School District board's efforts to try to balance the 2012-2013 school budget by eliminating 15.5 personnel positions and then potentially increasing school-related fees for students, it is intuitively obvious SVSD cannot live within its financial means, as ironically the personnel reductions have not mitigated the proposed budget from increasing over last year. For example, the 2011-2012 budget was $94.5M, and now the proposed 2012-2013 budget is $97.2M, a 3-percent increase after the reduction of the 15.5 personnel positions? The board appears to be misguided in its efforts to align its budget with expected revenues. There are many citizens who believe that not raising taxes is being irresponsible, …
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Citing cutbacks in state funding and ballooning pension costs, officials are expect to vote next week on a proposed budget with an increase in property taxes.
Discussion of what appears to be an inevitable tax increase dominated Monday night’s work session of the Seneca Valley school board. The district is facing a $4.8 million dollar shortfall for the 2012-13 school year. In April, officials voted to eliminate 14 positions, 11 of which were teachers. The three eliminated non-teacher positions were the assistant director of buildings and grounds, a paraprofessional for the secondary gifted program and the attendance officer. The board is expected to vote next week on a proposed budget that includes a tax-mill increase ranging anywhere from 2.11 to 5.71 mills. The proposed budget will be available to the public before officials give their final vote June 25. Superintendent Dr. Tracy Vitale …