No tax hike in Central Cambria budget

EBENSBURG – Central Cambria School District plans to keep taxes at current levels for the 2015-16 school year.

The proposed $22.4 million budget is tight, with officials hoping to break even at year’s end. That’s become more difficult with an expected $600,000 decrease in revenue from local taxpayers.

Business Manager Mary Ann Kaschalk attributed the drop to a handful of local reassessments, including at the now-closed Gamesa facility in Cambria Township, that resulted in lower property values.

“It really is out of our hands,” she said.

Superintendent Vincent DiLeo said the district always takes a hit when businesses close, but he’s also looking at plans for new businesses coming into the area and hopes the drop is temporary.

“We can’t plan for it (new businesses), but it’s definitely good for our budget,” he said.

While officials said they’ve been fiscally responsible, and are hopeful in looking toward Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget, ever-increasing teachers’ pension contributions will continue to be a concern, as well.

“It’s big,” Kaschalk said. “It’s 25.84 percent. … That amounts to over $2.3 million.”

That number was about 21.4 percent, or $1.9 million, for the current school year, and is projected to increase to just under 30 percent for the 2016-17 school year.

DiLeo said even as the budget tightens, the school has been able to move forward with necessary projects and continues to look at grounds and fields improvements in the coming year.

“We’ve done a lot. We’re doing more with less,” he said, and as a community hub “it’s incumbent on the district to maintain and improve constantly.”

The board is slated to approve the proposed budget May 4, with final budget adoption scheduled for June 8.

Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.