The Wyoming Area School Board passed its final proposed budget.
While not binding, it is the last proposed budget before the final vote in June.
Based on the final proposed budget passed by the board, taxpayers may get an unexpected break. The board approved a final proposed budget of $30,145,615 which includes a tax increase of 2.3 percent.
The April preliminary budget included exceptions allowed by the state.
District business manager Tom Melone said the combination of several factors made for a more favorable budget.
According to Melone, the district did not use any of its contingency funds this year. He also said that adjustments for unpaid leave and sabbaticals added to the district’s fund balance.
The proposed budget calls for a 13.8522 millage rate for those district taxpayers who live in Luzerne County and a 76.9683 millage rate for those who live in Wyoming County.
The proposed tax increase would add about $36 to the average Luzerne County homeowner’s tax bill. Those living in Wyoming County would actually receive a small decrease in their taxes.
Administrators fielded several questions about the district’s financial relationship with the Luzerne Intermediate Unit. Board members and residents alike questioned the $762,000 contract the board approved for 2013-2014 services provided by the unit.
Board member Mary Louise Degnan asked for insight into how students are assigned services at the LIU.
A resident asked whether the board had looked into providing its own services, rather than contracting services out to the LIU.
Administrators explained that often services are required for a small number of students and that it made sense to have students from several districts join together to comprise a class. Superintendent Ray Bernardi said that ESL (English as a Second Language) was a good example as the district has few students who fall into that category.
The board approved the appointment of Brendan Carter as percussion instructor at a salary of $1,294 for the 2013-2014 marching band season.
The board also approved Nicholas Diaco as head girls volleyball coach at a salary of $1,815 for the 2013 season.
There will be changes in classes for the 2013-2014 school year. The board approved changes to the number of classes at the elementary level.
Also, the secondary center is eliminating a position in career technology and another in social studies and will add a half-day French teacher.
Administrators stated the changes at the secondary center are based on student schedule selections which have already been made.