East Lycoming revises prospective budget

HUGHESVILLE – After much revision, the East Lycoming School Board has announced it expects to raise real estate taxes 0.27 mills for the 2013-14 school year. The school board also announced a 5-cent increase in the price of school lunches for the next year, and approved $30,000 toward the cost of the natatorium conversion project, which will turn the district’s pool into a sports field.

Previously, the district had estimated an increase of 0.67 mills in real estate taxes in order to balance its budget.

“We went back in and worked with the numbers again, and we were able to reach the lower millage,” said Michael Pawlik, superintendent.

The new numbers reflect the most current state budget information, according to David Maciejewski, district business manager.

“We’re going to continue watching that state budget very closely. As of right now, I feel confident we can meet all of our goals,” Maciejewski said.

According to Maciejewski, federal regulations have necessitated the increase in the cost of school lunches. Even with the increase, lunches at East Lycoming still are one of the least expensive in Lycoming County, he added.

Last year, the district raised the price of lunches 15 cents. However, the district still is seeing a high number of students purchasing meals through the school’s program.

“Last year we also introduced our online lunch money program, which has been a huge success,” Maciejewski said.

“We saw over $35,000 pass through the online program this year,” he added.

The board approved a $30,000 allowance to fund an architectural and structural engineer, who will complete permit drawings for the natatorium conversion.

The pool, which is on Thompson Street, will be drained, filled in and covered with turf and turned into a sports field.

“We’re hoping to convert the pool area into a sports field, which will be covered in AstroTurf,” Pawlik said.

Construction on the project is expected to begin this summer, he added.