Proposed spending plan includes tax hike; teachers pact OK’d

Montoursville Area School Board Tuesday approved a preliminary budget for 2014-15 that calls for a tax increase of 0.36 mills.

The $30 million spending plan is about $1.1 million larger than this year’s budget.

It includes spending increases of $350,000 for employee wages and $409,000 for health care, according to district Business Manager Robert Saul.

The budget also includes a little more than $2 million in carryover funds from this year, he noted.

Under the proposed tax increase, property owners with homes having an assessed value of $100,000 would pay an additional $36 per year in real estate taxes.

In 2013, the board passed a millage rate increase of 0.20.

Voting in favor of the budget were Thomas McNamara, Jill Kaplan, James Bergen, Jeff Schans, George Hagemeyer, Jennifer Marriott, Dale Ulmer and William Ruffing. Scott Konkle was absent.

Superintendent Dr. Timothy Bowers said the budget is not final.

The board is expected to take another look at the spending plan at its work session later this month.

In other action, the board approved a contract agreement between the district and the Montoursville Area Education Association.

The three-year agreement, covering teachers and other professional employees, includes annual wage increases of 2.7 percent.

The plan calls for employees to pay less money for health care insurance premiums but higher deductibles.

The last contract was set to expire June 30.

Bowers lauded both sides for working out a contract.

“This is huge for our district to move forward,” he said.

Scott Metzger, president of Montoursville Little League, said pets have become a problem at the Lyter Little League.

He told the board that pets are using the field owned by the district to relieve themselves, and, in at least one case, a dog bit a person.

He asked that perhaps signs be put up at the field to prevent people from bringing their pets there.

The board agreed to look into the matter later this month.

In other matters, the board:

Approved an agreement with Intermediate Unit 17 to provide special education services for next year.

Approved Pennsylvania Insurance Consortium for Schools to provide the district’s workers compensation coverage.

Voted in favor of a 5- cent increase for student school lunches next year.