As a cost-saving measure, Panther Valley School Board on Thursday agreed by a 5-3 vote to hire an outside firm to provide janitorial services at its buildings.

Eastern Janitorial Services of Kenilworth, New Jersey, was hired at a cost of $470,820.

The board expects to save $212,000 by hiring the firm.

About 15 employees are affected by the action. Darin Frey, representing Teamster Union Local 773, said the average custodian worker earns about $15 per hour. He said the board was seeking a $5 per hour pay cut.

In other business, the board voted by a 5-4 margin on a new budget that increases taxes by 2 mills. Before the vote on the 2-mill hike was taken, the board rejected a proposal to raise taxes by 3 mills. This vote fell by a 6-3 vote.