One board member said the increase will pose a financial hardship to district residents.
By LAURA MILOSER
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Taxpayers in the New Castle Area School District will see an 8-mill tax increase for the 2002-03 school year.
The school board approved the millage increase by a 5-3 vote at its meeting Monday.
The millage for the district will increase from 84.5 mills to 92.5 mills next school year. Board members Andrea Przybylski, Peter Yerage and Joseph Farris cast the no votes. Board member Allan Joseph was absent. One mill generates about $95,039 a year.
Przybylski said she thinks the 8-mill increase would be too much of a financial hardship for taxpayers. Yerage said he thinks there are other ways to streamline the budget. Farris made no comment on his vote.
The district also approved the 2002-03 school year budget with a $1,772,175 shortfall.
The $33,802,540 budget was approved by a 7-1 vote.
Przybylski voted no. "If we don't adopt a balanced budget, the problems will only increase," she said.
Board member Larry Nord said that although he did not agree with everything in the budget, "it is totally fiscally irresponsible not to vote for the budget as it was presented."
He added, "If we are going to steer this ship going in the right direction, sometimes we have to bite the bullet."
Action was taken at the meeting to aid in cutting costs for the district.
The board unanimously agreed to abolish the position of director of the Education Foundation and Alumni Association.
Paul Malley has the position at a salary of $39,000 plus benefits. Malley will remain on the payroll through Friday.
The board also eliminated the position of director of supplies by a 6-2 vote. Przybylski and Yerage voted no.
Albert Padula has had the position as director of supplies for the past 16 years. He commented that he is the district's lowest-paid full-time employee, with a salary of $32,000.
The board also eliminated two custodial positions and one maintenance position. Assistant Superintendent Nick DeRosa said the one custodial job and the maintenance job would be eliminated after those in the positions retire Friday. He said the other custodial position is vacant and will not be filled.
One part-time and one full-time secretary also will retire Friday. The board agreed to eliminate the positions after the retirement of both secretaries.
The board also agreed to abolish the district security guard and a building security guard. Money from the Drug and Alcohol Free Schools grant will be used to hire two security guards.
DeRosa commented, "This board in particular has really done a lot. They [the board] have eliminated or reduced the staff by 25 personnel over the past school year."