WELLSBORO - The school district here is running a deficit in its 2012-13 budget, but it is much less than it was even a month ago, according to Business Manager Marcia Newcomb.
Newcomb said the deficit on the district's $22 million budget is about $192,000, down from $300,000.
"It is a work in progress," Newcomb said in a phone interview Tuesday.
The budget is up slightly from this year's $21.6; about $550,000 higher than last year, or 3 percent, she added.
Obviously the governor's budget has put the hurt on all of the commonwealth's school districts, and Wellsboro is no exception, she said.
"State revenues this year came out to be $116,000 less than what we received last year (when the district received about $5.7 million)," she said, "But there will no longer be a basic education subsidy if his budget is passed in June," she added.
Gov. Tom Corbett is proposing to create a student achievement block grant for next year that combines the basic education subsidy, pupil transportation, social security and non-public transportation.
"For future years, there are questions about how it will be handled," Newcomb added.
To further strain the budget, the district's local retirement contribution jumps 41 percent in 2012-13, or about $368,000 more, which Newcomb said has been figured into the budget.
The years following will continue to see large increases in retirement contributions as the state contributes less.
Health insurance costs rose 8.39 percent and contractual obligations also are on the rise, and so the district will raise taxes to the Act 1 index, but there also are "a lot of things on the table," she added.
There also are capital improvements that need to be made, such as various paving of driveways and parking lots, as well as replacement of water pumps at Don Gill Middle School, which are more than 50 years old, Newcomb said. There is about $950,000 budgeted for the projects, she said.
Money had been budgeted last year for the removal of the bleachers on the soccer wing field, and those were removed, and now the remaining bleachers will need to be removed and replaced, superintendent Chris Morral said Tuesday, though replacement will not be done using taxpayer money.
Instead a capital campaign will be started to raise about $4 million needed to repair the sports complex.
"There is a whole complexity of issues, electrical, drainage, meeting state compliance, no water. We can't just do a portion without doing the entire thing," Morral said.
On Tuesday the board agreed to hire Schlegel Excavating Inc., of Millmont, to remove the remaining bleachers and press box for the low bid of $11,143.
The board also:
Approved a contract with Transfinder Software systems for $15,495, plus $4,700 due annually and also Schools Interoperability Framework software, which allows schools in the district to communicate with each other for $16,625 and $2,525 annually for support and upgrades.
Accepted the resignation of high school athletic director and physical education teacher Sherri Prough, effective Feb. 14.