WRIGHT TWP. — The Crestwood Area School Board approved a proposed $40 million final budget on Thursday night that includes a real estate tax increase of 5.5 percent for the 2018-19 school year and no teacher layoffs.
The budget, however, has a deficit of $1.9 million — a situation that district financial director Albert Melone described as “difficult.”
“Although we still have 30 days to work on this, I don’t see the $1.9 million going away,” Melone added.
A final spending plan has to be submitted to the state Department of Education by June 30.
Real estate taxes under the $40,023,175 plan would increase to 10.3899 mills, with a mill representing $1 in tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value.
Board President Bill Jones said that through negotiations with the Crestwood Education Association, an agreement had been reached on salary issues which resulted in enough savings to save the jobs of four teachers, who had been scheduled to be furloughed.
Solicitor Jack Dean announced that CEA’s officers also agreed to the extension of the current collective bargaining agreement until the 2020-21 school term.
Salaries nonetheless remain the largest line item in the budget: $17,098,165 plus $10.4 million more in benefits.
Overall, local revenue is anticipated to generate $22.2 million. State reimbursement has been estimated by Melone at $15.1 million, with another $411,135 expected from federal sources.