No Tax Increase In Crestwood’s 2017-18 Budget
By REBECCA SODERGREN
Correspondent

Crestwood school directors approved a 2017-18 budget that will not raise taxes but will result in a deficit at their meeting May 18.

Business Manager Al Melone Jr. expressed disgust while presenting the budget, saying, “After the parade goes through, somebody’s gotta clean up after the elephants,” insinuating that the deficit will continue to plague the district.

The millage rate will be 9.8481 (a mill represents a tax rate of $1 for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value). Revenue for 2017-18 is expected to be $36,795,523 and expenditures $37,724,050 –a deficit of $928,527.

“This is extremely troubling,” Melone said of the deficit, blaming some of it on the extra $275,000 needed to sort out last fall’s busing snafu. Last August, a new busing company initially hired to take over Crestwood’s busing couldn’t perform the duties spelled out in the contract, and the school board at the last minute rehired the former company, Rinehimer Bus Lines, at a higher cost.

Responding to audience questions, school directors noted that although 10 to 11 staff will leave the district after the current school year, only one –a nurse –will be replaced. Superintendent Joseph Gorham said class sizes will rise from an average of 21 to 23 students per classroom this year to 25 to 26 next year.

School directors also viewed a PowerPoint presentation outlining the upcoming renovations to the secondary building auditorium. Changes will include new wood veneer, lighted display cases and signage at the auditorium entrance as well as new doors. Inside, the auditorium will have new wood veneer along the walls, two retractable projection screens, new cushioned seats, new tile under the seats, new carpet in the aisles and refinished stairs and stage. Asbestos abatement is also planned for the back wall of the auditorium and the flooring under the seats.

The district received two bids for the general contracting and six bids for the electrical work but no bids for the asbestos abatement. Quad 3 Engineers of Wilkes-Barre, the architect, expects that re-advertising the job will attract bids, so school directors agreed to wait on awarding any bids for the renovations until they receive some asbestos abatement bids. President Bill Jones said construction should still be able to start, as planned, around mid-June.

In response to an audience question, Jones noted that planned construction of a fieldhouse will not begin until fall at the earliest.

The board approved the following payments:

$25,000 to Quad 3 for auditorium renovation plans and $220,000 for fieldhouse plans.

Refund for overpayment of school taxes totaling $232.17 to Fairview property owner Timothy M. Johnson and $241.28 to Wright property owners Javier Alvarez and Maria Lorenzo.

$6,740 to Accutemp Services for replacement of four water fountains at Rice Elementary.

The following personnel were hired for 2017-18: Wendy Brakvatne and Marissa Metric as part-time special education aides at $13 per hour, Thomas Waskiewicz as part-time custodian at $13.57 per hour and Robert Anker as full-time custodian at $15.74 per hour.

The board appointed Scott Brumagin as director of building and grounds at a salary of $55,000 and also approved the appointment of several permanent substitutes and

‘A TASTE OF THE MOUNTAIN’ featured samples from sixteen establishments, that included restaurants, a brewery and winery, in the Mountaintop area. The event was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Mountain Top and was held at the Glen Summit Clubhouse. Randy and Leanne Womelsdorf enjoyed the food and sociability during the event last Sunday afternoon. More photos on page 9.

support staff for the remainder of the current school year.

The board also approved next school year’s D. A. R. E. drug education program by Wright Township police at a cost of $7,354.

The following coaches were hired for fall sports in 2017: Patricia

See Budget page 4