NESHANNOCK SCHOOLS Cost of renovation less than estimated

The board adopted a tentative budget for next fiscal year.
NEW CASTLE, PA. -- The expansion and renovation of Neshannock Memorial Elementary School will cost less than expected.
Neshannock school directors awarded contracts totaling $10,203,026 for the project. Officials said Thursday that the estimated cost of the project was $11,208,334. The work is scheduled to begin after the end of this school year.
After much discussion, the board agreed to upgrade the choice of flooring and windows.
Cast floor tile was selected by a 6-1 vote. Director Karen Houk voted no. Directors Gina Hennon and Walter Kustra were absent.
Houk said she preferred vinyl floor because it's less expensive. She said she would have rather seen the $137,000 for the flooring upgrade used for improvements in the kitchens or auditorium.
In other business at its meeting Thursday, the board adopted the budget for the 2003-04 fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2003.
According to Superintendent Dr. Michael Hink, the budget of 13,499,215 is a 4.16 percent increase over last year's budget. He estimated a total of $11,736,333 in revenue. The board authorized taking $1,762,882 from the district's savings account to make up the shortfall.
This would leave the district with a savings balance of $430,000 at the end of the 2003-2004 year.
Spending concerns
Directors Dr. John Dietz and Houk both voiced their concerns over the deficit spending. Dietz said it has been the district's practice to have an amount equal to 10 percent of the budget in reserve, which would have meant $1.3 million in savings, instead of the projected $430,000.
Houk said, "Should anything major happen, we won't have enough money to pay for it."
Hink noted that it appears the district will finish fiscal year 2002-03 about $1 million under budget, and he hopes the same will happen next year.

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