Blue Ridge tightens operating budget

BY STACI WILSON

Blue Ridge tightened its belt again this year, with just over $200,000 less in this year’s operating budget than last year. The school board adopted its 2014-15 final budget of about $16,715,000 on Monday, June 30.

Even with the budget reduction, district taxpayers will see an increase in their property tax bills. The board elected to raise taxes by the maximum percentage allowable according to the state index formula. The board set the 2014-15 millage at 48.39, a 1.4 mill increase from the 46.99 mills set in 2013-14.

But district property owners receiving the homestead/farmstead exclusion will see their tax bills reduced by about $374.

In addition to voting on the final budget, the board passed several items in preparation for the next school year:
*PA Treatment and Healing (PATH) was approved to provide alternative educational services for the district.
*Substitutes – both instructional and non-instructional – were approved by the board, as were adviser and co-curricular positions for the upcoming school year.
*Participate with the private driving school operated by Mark Beach to provide “behind-the wheel” driver education training.
*Approved C.A.F.E. to conduct a four-day trip to Washington, D.C., for sixth grade students, April 29, 2015-May 2, 2015.
*Approve non-instructional salaries.

In personnel matters, the board accepted resignations from Mandy Miller and Dennis Lewis.

The board also approved a roof renovation project at a cost of $307,554 to be paid out of the district’s capital reserve account. The project entails recoating portions of the rubber roof that are no longer covered by warranty. The resurfacing project will extend the warranty for 15 years.
Debbie Bennett was approved by the board to work as the interim business manager for the district until Aug. 15.