The Jim Thorpe School Board held the final vote, passing the 2011-2012 budget. The budget had previously been passed but needed to have a final vote before being submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) by the June 30th due date.
The budget will see a 2 mill increase (value of 1 mill is $649,682).
The vote to pass the final budget was 5-2, with two members absent. Board Members Gerald Strubinger and Ellen Kattner voted against the increase.
Board member Dennis McGinley stated, "We cut everything we could possibly cut without cutting jobs. There's not much more we can do without going into education."
In trying to lower the budget the district reduced expenditures including activity buses and bus monitors. Some faculty positions had been demoted, some positions will not be replaced, and certain members of the faculty had also taken pay freezes.
Now the 2011-2012 budget is past, the district will now be looking to work on the 2012-2013 budget.
The topic of changing to two tier busing as a money saver was recommended by Strubinger. Currently 46 buses are used but two tier busing would eliminate half the buses. Two tier busing means the different schools within the district would have different start times. Then 23 buses would make two runs each morning and each afternoon instead of just one.
William Juracka, Director of Transportation and Security looked into the possible savings with the two bus contractors. Juracka concluded that there would be no real savings to the district.
Solicitor Gregory Mousseau stated, "With the contract we are not obligated to use these contractors."
Strubinger wanted to look into the bus contracts and see if there are other places that could save the district.
"I am positive with two tier busing, if we had one single contractor we would have better flow of the buses," said Strubinger.
"We have to look wherever we can save money. It's a significant amount we pay for transportation," he added.
It was suggested by the board to prepare for next year's budget by looking into the busing contracts within the finance committee.