YATESVILLE — The Pittston Area School Board passed a preliminary 2013-14 school year budget during Thursday night’s monthly meeting that contains a shortfall of more than $400,000.
The tentative budget assumes a $421,997 shortfall with an anticipated $43,183,436 in expenditures, but only $42,761,439 in revenues. The proposed budget is based on a property tax rate increase — from 13.4246 mills to 13.7333 mills — and the closure of the Benjamin Franklin Primary Center in Dupont.
Al Melone, a financial consultant contracted by the district, noted this budget could look drastically different from what is finally adopted in July or August.
He also noted that the deficit, although troublesome, is characteristic of national trends in school funding. He did, however, warn district officials to prepare to eliminate future debt increases in order to avoid being labeled a distressed school district.
All school board members at the meeting voted to accept the preliminary budget. Board members Marilyn Starna and Joseph Kelly were absent.
Board President Charles Sciandra, upon voting for acceptance, advised all members to look for ways to increase funding so as to close out the debt and potentially avoid the tax increase.