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Allegheny Valley considers offering early retirement, cutting staff

May 12, 2018 GMT

The Allegheny Valley School Board is planning to offer early retirement incentives and considering the reduction of teachers and staff to help close a $510,000 budget deficit.

The board is expected to vote Monday on offering the early retirement incentive to about 12 eligible teachers.

Officials said this week that they are considering all options to help reduce the deficit as they plan for next year’s $23.1 million budget, including eliminating positions and a tax increase.

School board member Larry Pollick said he wants the district to take a look at adjusting staff, especially as the Colfax students and teachers are moved to Acmetonia.

“Do we need everything we have right now?” he asked.

District Superintendent Pat Graczyk said they do have the option to reduce the amount of teachers and staff during the move because there could be duplicate positions.

He said the administration has identified four positions that could be eliminated. The cut would save an estimated $300,000. Officials declined to identify which positions could be eliminated because it’s a personnel matter.

Graczyk said if the district eliminates positions it would be teachers and staff on the lower end of the pay scale.

“These decisions don’t come easily,” he said.

School board member James Gaschler said he favors eliminating positions through attrition, which means not filling a position if a teacher resigns.

Graczyk said the biggest expenses for the district are salaries, retirement, technology, special education and safety measures.

School board member Stephen Puskar said he wants the board to consider a tax increase to help alleviate some of the deficit. If not this year, the board should consider a tax increase in the future to ensure the district stays financially sound, he said.

“I recognize that the tax burden on everybody is an issue, but we also have to be aware of the fact that we’re trying to put the best academics we can out there,” he said.

The current property tax millage is 20.35 mills.

The district remains in the planning phase of the budget and no decisions on cuts or a tax increase have been made.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4680, emilybalser@tribweb.com or via Twitter @emilybalser.