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Last updated: May 23. 2014 11:50PM - 2672 Views
By B. Garret Rogan Times Leader Correspondent



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YATESVILLE — The Pittston Area School Board voted 5-4 Thursday night to close their revenue gap with a property tax increase.


In its current form, the budget calls for just over $45 million in expenditures although the district anticipates just over $44 million in revenue.


The difference would be made up of a 2.9 percent increase in property taxes, which the district estimates to be an average of $47 per household.


Board members Kent Bratlee, John Donahue, Anthony Guariglia, Steve Knick and Martin Quinn each voted to accept the budget, while John Adonizio, Richard Gorzkowski, Joseph Kelly and Charles Sciandra voted against.


Business consultant Al Melone, who prepared the budget and presented the figures to the board, previewed the numbers in stark terms.


“This is as close to the precipice as we’ve been in my experience,” he said.


He listed unfunded government mandates and a reduced flow of state and federal funding as the main reasons for the budgetary shortcomings, noting this same situation is being faced by virtually every school district in Pennsylvania.


Melone did, however, note that despite the grim financial outlook, Pittston has not had to furlough any employees or cut any programs.


The budget will now be reviewed over the next 30 days before the board votes on whether to officially accept the budget for the next school year. The district has to have a budget in place by June 30.


Depending on final figures from the state and any other possible sources of revenue to be found, the final debt figure could be reduced.


The next regular meeting of the School Board will be on June 24 immediately after a public work session set for 6:30 p.m.


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