The voted 6-3 Monday night to adopt a $66.8 million budget that cuts 6.5 teaching positions and raises taxes by 4.138 percent.
Treasurer Dennis Sundo and Directors Ginny Goebel, Peter Lyons, Kevin Nigh, Laura Ohlund and Katie Shogan voted in favor of the budget.
Voting against it were President Stephen Hawbaker, Vice President Jeffrey Banyas and Director Therese Dawson.
Before the final vote, the nine-member board unanimously supported Lyons' amendment to cut one more teaching position—adding a music teacher to the 5.5 physical education teaching cuts already included in the budget.
That brought the propery tax increase percentage down slightly to 4.138 percent, which translates to 22.815 mills per thousand dollars of assessed value.
"I am stuck on the curtailments originally proposed," Hawbaker said as he announced he would vote no on the budget. He was referring to the administration's original budget proposal to cut 15 teaching positions.
Hawbaker also said he preferred a tax increase of 2 to 3 percent.
The 3 percent increase was palatable because it included reserving $477,300 to help pay for the rising costs of the Public School Employees' Retirement System, commonly referred to as PSERS, he said.
"We are at a point where we need a tax increase and the associated cost cuts," Hawbaker said.
Banyas said he supported the amendment to cut another teaching position, but did not support the budget because it did not go far enough in dealing with the sea of red ink facing the district.
Although the tax hike looks like a big jump, Ohlund said, "this is a fiscally conservative board here."
Money has been set aside in the budget to help pay for the rising cost of PSERS and to cover the cost of hiring more teachers if the student-teacher ratio gets too high, she said.
In the times set aside for public comment at the beginning and end of the meeting, Richland resident Annette Robinson told the board that she was part of an underrepresented part of the community.
Unlike many speakers from previous meetings, Robinson said she did not move to the area for the school district.
She and her husband moved into the district because they found a small house they could afford in a nice neighborhood, but now she fears the rising cost of taxes.
Robinson said she appreciated the plight of teachers and educators and parents with children in Pine-Richland schools.
"I would implore you to make the tough decisions," she told the school board. "I believe you can do the cutting and still remain one of the best school districts."
After months of lengthy discussions on the budget, Monday's vote went quickly.
At the end of the evening, teacher Jill Linz stepped to the podium during the public commenting time to ask the board exactly what the list of cuts were.
Finance and School Services Director Dana Siford explained that 5.5 physical education teaching positions and one music position were cut.
Parent Lisa Gaffey thanked the board for "maintaining the programs you maintained."
Members of TACT—Teachers and Community Together—manned an informational table before the meeting and people wearing TACT buttons were among those filling the meeting room at the school district's administrative office building.
No one publicly addressed the board on behalf of TACT.