Last night, the Tamaqua Area School Board held a special meeting and Finance Committee meeting to pre-approve the 2012-2013 school budget and to adopt a proposed final budget.

The school district budget has a deficit of $653,688, despite making several cuts, including not replacing six full time retiring employees, reductions with large equipment purchases and eliminating elementary physical education and library. Boys golf, tennis and cheerleading were also cut. Beginning with a fund balance of $3.8 million, budget figures show anticipated revenues of $24,683,004 and expenses of $25,336,692. The projected deficit will be transferred from the fund balance to the general fund. An additional $1.1 million of the fund balance is reserved for debt and other obligations, leaving the district with a fund balance of approximately $2 million.

Real estate taxes will remain the same, at 33.36, mills. The district also imposes Per Capita, Act 11 and EMS taxes, which will all remain at $5 each. Earned Income and Real Estate Transfer taxes will remain at one percent, shared with the municipalities which make up the district.

Several new programs were hot topics like an online math resource for grades K-5, which will allow teachers to work with students digitally. Other programs include 2012 summer school with 6-12 courses offered at $125 per student.

Superintendent Carol Makuta said, "The virtual campus allows students online opportunities to do assignments and credit recovery."

A Pilot Technology Camp will be held at the middle school for current 5th and 6th graders from June 11-15th. The program is sponsored in part by the Tamaqua Raider Foundation in conjunction with and instructed by Penn State Hazleton professionals. Parents must commit to a $25 fee.

ESY or Extended School Year, an early intervention program, will begin at the end of June for students who have been identified as the neediest. The program ends early in July.

And in other business, school board business manager Connie Ligenza announced a repository sale for parcels 527 and 529 Lincoln Street in Tamaqua. The sale, which will need board approval, will include a storage shed and land attached.

The annual Student Achievement Awards ceremony will be held May 15 at the Tamaqua Area Middle School.