Northwest Area approves final 2022-23 budget with maximum tax increase

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Jun. 23—UNION TWP. — At Wednesday's monthly meeting the Northwest Area School Board approved a final budget for 2022-23 a shortfall of $612,000 despite a 4.6% property tax increase, the maximum allowed by state law.

Superintendent Joseph Long said the district still doesn't know how much money it will get from the state. Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed a big increase that would more than cover the red ink, but the Republican-controlled legislature is not expected to approve the proposal. But the district has about $1.5 million in reserve if the state doesn't come through.

The new tax rate will be 12.4731 mills. A mill is a $1 tax for every $1,000 in assessed property value. The budget sets spending at slightly less than $21 million and anticipates income of almost $20.4 million. With one member absent the board voted 6-2 in favor of the budget, with Peter Lanza and Edward Beleski voting no.

The board also approved Tri-County to provide general liability and workman's compensation insurance services for 2022-23 at a cost of $138,431, a decrease of $2,858 from 2021-22. And the board appointed County Waste of Pennsylvania, LLC for district trash removal at a cost of $12,487.

The board also:

—Hired Heath Hine as high school science teacher and Kayla Smith and Jessica Kern as special education teachers.

—Voted to have Superintendent Joseph Long submit a letter of intent to withdraw from the Northeast Pennsylvania School District Health Trust at the end of the 2022-23 school year. The trust is a consortium of area districts formed to lower heath insurance costs and requires a year's notice before a member can withdraw. Many member districts routinely submit an intent to withdraw simply to keep the option open.

—Accepted the resignations of gifted coordinators James Martin and Mary Herbert, and to post and advertise the positions.

—Voted to post and advertise for part-time cafeteria workers, part-time cleaners, a full-time personal care assistant, part-time and full-time paraprofessionals, substitutes and a grant writer.

—Accepted the resignation of Wendy Vasey as English Department chair and voted to post the position.

—Accepted the resignations of cleaner Rebecca Scott, paraprofessional Rachel Bonomo and cafeteria worker Lori Sedorovich.

—Approved an agreement with Children's Service Center for the partial hospitalization and therapeutic education programs at a 6% increase from 2021-22.

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish