Willliamsport works to lower its deficit

The Williamsport Area School Board went over improvements made to the preliminary budget. The former budget had a $2.5 million deficit; with recent changes, the board has lowered it to a $1.9 million deficit.

In revenue, the earned income tax collections were estimated to increase over what the board originally budgeted by $500,000. There also were decreases in expenditures.

Since the board passed the preliminary budget, three more teachers have indicated they will be retiring at the end of the school year, which will save about $102,000.

By extending a lease with Apple to replace all computers in the student labs throughout the district from four years to five years the board saved about $35,500.

The board originally estimated transportation costs will go up 3 percent, but the increase now appears to be 2 percent, saving about $24,000, according to Jeffery Richards, business manager

Taxes can be raised to .444 mills without going over the Act 1 index, which will only generate about $675,000, leaving the board $1.9 million to cover.

There still is a chance that the board will vote to go above the Act 1 index, Richards said.

“As we get closer to the time we adopt our budget, we will hopefully know what will be approved by the state,” Richards said. “We still have a lot of unknowns, but as you can see the deficit is getting smaller.”

The board also awarded a contract, not to exceed $227,000, to reinstall the ceiling at the high school natatorium, or pool. The ceiling will have perimeter lighting.

The board also awarded a $42,000 contact to Gannett Fleming, of State College, to provide design and bidding services for the wastewater treatment plant improvements at Hepburn-Lycoming Primary School.