Members of the Greater Latrobe School Board approved the Act 93 compensation plan and perquisite program for 15 administrators during Tuesday’s regular meeting.
The five-year plan is effective July 1 through June 30, 2026. Final numbers weren’t available on Tuesday, but district superintendent Dr. Georgia Teppert said that some administrators received varying raises. She said that officials at the top of the scale may have received smaller raises than the lower end of the spectrum, but the district anticipates at least three retirements in the next five years.
The compensation plan and perquisite program is classified as a meet and discuss between a group of administrators and the school board and certain individuals are not permitted to be part of the group like a business manager, superintendent and assistant superintendent.
“Act 93 is not a union,” Assistant Superintendent Mike Porembka said. “It’s governed by state statute, not by an association or union.”
Porembka further explained that Act 93 authorizes administrators the ability to meet and discuss where bargaining isn’t allowed.
“The board of education sets their terms of employment and they abide by the terms of the agreement,” Porembka said. “There aren’t any negotiations. They could meet with the board and ask for a raise, and the board could tell them that they’re taking a freeze. They can ask for a freeze, and the board can give them a raise.”
The previous contract, which was approved five year ago, expired in June. Healthcare coverage, vacation and sick day allowances and qualifications for retirement were also set with the new plan.
“We had a lot of help from the participants,” board member William Palmer said. “We got it all worked out and it was very fair for all parties involved.”
Also on Tuesday, the board approved a resolution stating that it will not raise taxes above 3.11 mills this year.
The cost-of-living index is 3%, but the adjusted index for the district is 3.7%, which equates to a maximum millage increase of 3.11 mills, or a little more than $1 million. The value of one mill is $345,000.
The board must adopt a proposed final budget in May and a final budget by June 30.
Board members voted last June to adopt a $57,085,874 budget that was significantly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and included a tax increase of 1.75 mills. A 1.75-mill tax increase impacted the average tax payer by about $47 per year, as the average assessed value of a home within the district was at $26,581.
Last year, the board had the ability to raise taxes a maximum 2.71 mills, which would’ve brought in $934,950 in additional revenue.
Because of the pandemic, the district placed a freeze on all non-essential spending and cut $1,581,920 from its preliminary budget. As a result of the cuts, Greater Latrobe officials recommended a zero-increase to the expenditure side of the budget for the current 2020-21 school year. As a result of the pandemic, the district also anticipated a loss of $1,143,972 in local and state revenue for the current budget, but officials bridged the gap using a portion of the fund balance and CARES emergency relief funding.
Two years ago, the school board voted to adopt a $57,085,874 budget that included a shortfall of $340,000, requiring a 1-mill tax increase. The tax hike impacted the average taxpayer by about $25 a year. The cost-of-living index that year was 2.3%, or 2.36 mills, which meant the district could have increased taxes a maximum of $802,400.
Three years ago, the final operating budget of $56,066,709 included a shortfall of $170,000, or a half-mill increase, impacting the average taxpayer by $13. The district could have increased taxes a maximum of $850,000 that year.
Four years ago, Greater Latrobe approved a $55.4-million spending plan that had a 1.75-mill tax increase. The board could have increased taxes a maximum of 2.53 mills that year, or about $854,000. Five years ago, Greater Latrobe didn’t raise taxes, and six years ago, the district passed a $53.4-million spending plan that included a tax increase of one mill.
The board also voted to approve:
- Resignation of Susan Caldwell, payroll manager; David Cook, senior high teacher; Mary Koluder, part-time secretary; Alan Wolfe, custodian;
- Substitute teachers including Gabrielle Morreale, physical education and Joel Trentin, social studies and English;
- Amy Sassos, confidential secretary, $15.75 an hour and Nicole Jamison, part-time food service at $10.80 an hour;
- Tyler Gustafson and Michael J. Yandrick as volunteer wrestling and varsity basketball coaches, respectively;
- Board retreat to be held 8 a.m. Saturday, April 24, at the Center for Student Creativity;
- Sign language interpreting professional fees and policies;
- St. Francis University cooperative agreement for college in high school for the 2020-21 school year;
- New Story tuition rate reduction for a student;
- Changes to the school calendar;
- Local audit report for the school year ending June 30, 2020 as presented by Horner, Wible and Terek, PC;
- Gifts, grants and donations of $6,000 from the United Way for a school readiness and a transition plan;
- Renewal of Johnson Controls Fire Protection LP service agreement effective Jan. 1 through Dec. 31;
- Bid for the purchase of three maintenance vehicles, a F550 with a dump and plow upfit; a F550 with an aerial lift upfit and transit cargo work van to Mount Joy-based Whitmoyer Auto Group, for the total amount of $186,465;
- Susan Mains to serve on the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit Board of Directors effective July 1 through July 1, 2024;
- E-Rate Network Equipment Award.