Highlands approves school tax hike, recalls 2 furloughed teachers |
Valley News Dispatch

Highlands approves school tax hike, recalls 2 furloughed teachers

Brian C. Rittmeyer
Brian C. Rittmeyer | Tribune-Review
The Highlands School Board meets at the Highlands High School library on Monday, June 25, 2018.

The Highlands School Board approved a 3.5 percent increase in the district’s property taxes for the 2018-19 school year.

It’s the maximum increase allowed by the state.

The board voted 8-0 to increase the property tax millage from 23.8 mills to 24.63 mills. School board President Debbie Beale was absent.

Highlands serves Tarentum, Brackenridge, Harrison and Fawn.

The taxes will fund the district’s $40.31 million budget for the coming school year, which was approved on the same vote.

The final approved budget is down from a $47.9 million earlier proposal.

The district lowered its spending, in part, by furloughing 26 employees, which was approved in May. Among them were seven teachers and 14 aides.

District officials could not immediately provide the names of the affected employees Monday night.

The board Monday approved recalling two of the furloughed employees, both teachers, who were identified — Christina Miller, a second-grade teacher, and Krista Yount, a kindergarten teacher.

The district also is borrowing $10.45 million that will be used for pension and bond payments, and to pay for a new elevator at Grandview elementary.

One place the district won’t be cutting is its custodial staff, Superintendent Michael Bjalobok said, in response to a question from a resident.

The board accepted the resignations of two custodians — Gregory Hirtz, at the high school, and Adam Trosell, from the middle school.

Asked if they would be replaced, Bjalobok said the district was “short-handed to begin with.”

“We need to get a lot of work done,” he said. “We need additional custodial staff.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or on Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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