The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 13, 2013

Mifflinburg school directors consider $888,000 budget

By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item

— MIFFLINBURG — With an emphasis on caution pending the outcome of the governor’s quest for a new pension system, Business Manager Thomas Caruso said the Mifflinburg Area School District’s 2013-14 budget deficit could drop about $400,000, he told the school board Tuesday night.

“This is contingent on pension reform,” Caruso said, as well as levying the maximum tax increase allowed for the school district.

If Gov. Tom Corbett gets the reform he seeks, the school district’s contribution to the Public School Employees Retirement System could drop as much as $200,000, Caruso told the board.

Corbett has said his proposed $5.5 billion budget for education hinges on reform of the state pension system for educators, among others.

The school board voted unanimously in January, in lieu of a preliminary budget, to adopt a resolution not to raise taxes above Mifflinburg’s allowed index of 2.3 percent.

If the board raises taxes to the limit, the action would generate roughly $200,000 to go toward the deficit of roughly $888,000. Mifflinburg’s preliminary 2013-14 budget totals nearly $26.7 million.

Caruso presented some real numbers obtained since Corbett introduced his preliminary budget last week. Among the surprises was the Accountability Block Grant, which would give Mifflinburg $141,281. It was zeroed out in the preliminary budget, as the trend the last two years has been for the state to cut it.

Special education was level-funded at 2012-13’s level of $1.3 million. Mifflinburg had expected to see $1.33 million.

Caruso said he still is measuring the proposed state budget numbers against what Mifflinburg had figured on, warning, “We are a long way from having a budget by June 30.”

The budget news followed an executive session that saw the school board leave for more than an hour to discuss a building matter, requested by Neil Shoreman, who leads the property committee.

Members Tom Hosterman and John Uehling were absent.