Montoursville Area School Board Tuesday night unanimously approved a $26.4 million preliminary budget for next year that holds the line on real estate taxes.
The spending plan reflects a nearly $1 million increase from last year.
The larger budget, business manager Robert Saul explained, can be explained by increased costs for retirement and health care.
The millage remains at 13.42.
Last year the district absorbed a hike of .12 mills.
Saul noted that a number of cuts are being proposed.
Two teachers are expected to retire and will not be replaced.
In addition, a high school secretary position and custodial job will not be filled.
"We scaled back on maintenance," Saul said. "We're not doing as many major projects."
Saul said that the district is maintaining a budgetary reserve of $2.38 million.
The final budget is expected to be passed at the board's regular monthly meeting June 12.
In other matters, the board after much discussion agreed to allow the high school track to be used by the public.
Board member Dora Pioli argued on behalf of allowing citizens to use the facility.
She noted other area school districts, including Montgomery, Hughesville and Jersey Shore, open up their tracks to citizens for walking.
In past meetings concerns were expressed about track damage and liability issues.
"I think we can trust the people in Montoursville to walk on the track," she said.
High school principal Daniel Taormina raised the possibility of "unusual wear and tear" to the track as the result of people skateboarding or bicycling on it.
Board member George Hagemeyer suggested that perhaps people be assessed a fee to use the facility and that someone be on hand to supervise activities.
Pioli said it bothered her that other districts don't see the need for fees and supervisors.
Solicitor Fred Holland said the district already has in place the proper liability insurance.
He did note, however, the bleachers posed the possibility of someone being seriously hurt from a fall, which would result in a spike in insurance costs.
The board voted 5-2 to open the track to citizens with the district given the discretion to come up with guidelines for use.
Voting in favor were Pioli, Hagemeyer, Ellen Stoner, Jill Kaplan and Scott Konkle. George Light and Dale Ulmer voted no.
In personnel matters, the board hired Rebecca Russell as a first grade teacher at Lyter Elementary and Ashley Downey as an emotional support/English teacher at C.E. McCall Middle School.
Christopher Liddic was hired as an industrial arts teacher at C.E. McCall Middle School.
He replaces Harry Boyer.
The board approved commencement for high school seniors June 7 at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Baccalaureate is set for June 3 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.