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PR School Board to Consider Budget Proposal With 3.2 Percent Tax Increase

Proposed budget also calls for cuts.

When the Pine-Richland School Board meets Monday, it will have a budget proposal before it that calls for a 3.2 percent tax increase and cuts that include 15 teaching positions.

That is what the finance committee decided Wednesday night as it considered a budget of about $65 million that has a $2 million gap between revenue and expenses.

The proposal has a caveat—about $477,300 of the increased revenue would be placed in a reserve to help deal with the rising costs of the Public School Employees' Retirement System, commonly referred to as PSERS.

The school board is scheduled to vote at its 7:30 p.m. Monday meeting to adopt a proposed final budget, which will then be posted for public review.

The meeting will be held at the Pine-Richland School District Administrative Offices Building, 702 Warrendale Road, Gibsonia.

The finance committee meets again to discuss the budget and hear from the public at 6 p.m. May 29.

Final adoption of the budget and setting the tax rate is scheduled for the board's June 25 meeting.

Click here to see the proposed reductions that are outlined as Plan A in a memo from Superintenent Dr. Mary Bucci. The cuts include:

Physical Education:

A cut in the number of physical education teachers from 17 to 11.5 in the district. 

Physical education time at Eden Hall would be reduced from six days in a 10-day rotation to once a week in grades four, five, and six for 40 minutes. This would include health instruction.

High school requirements would be reduced to 1 credit of physical education, including health education. Currently, high school students are required to take a PE class every year.

Changes at Eden Hall to Simplify the Schedule

1. General music would be reduced from three days in a 10-day rotation to once a week in grades four, five, and six as it is in grades one, two, and three. The current time for music is 30 minutes three times in 10 days for a total of 90 minutes. The program change would provide 5 minutes per week less general music time.

2. General art would be reduced from three days in a 10-day rotation to once a week in grades four, five, and six as it is in grades one, two, and three. The current time for art is 30 minutes three times in 10 days for a total of 90 minutes. The program change would provide 5 minutes per week less general art time.

3. In grades 4-6, advanced language arts and math instruction will be provided through the biomes to which the student will be assigned. There will be one or more advanced language arts sections at each grade level depending upon the achievement scores of the students within the biomes.

Placement exams will be given to determine individual student need. The number of placement assessments has been reduced to minimize the amount of testing time for students at the elementary grade levels. Curriculum-based assessments, standardized assessments, classroom grades, and 2011-2012 PSSA scores will be some of the determining factors in placing students in advanced programming.

4. Currently all students at Eden Hall receive keyboarding instruction in grades four, five, and six for three days out of a 10- day cycle. That would change to once a week for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. The keyboarding would be for fourth grade only. The business curriculum in grades five and six would be upgraded to cover Microsoft Office programs and web tools.

5. Currently all students at Eden Hall receive world language instruction in grades four, five, and six for three days in a 10-day cycle. The proposal would change world language instruction to once a week in grades four, five, and six.

6. This would round out the weekly encore rotation:

• One physical education class per week;

• One music class per week;

• One art class per week;

• One business class per week;

• One world language class per week.

7. Band, chorus, orchestra and instrument lessons would be offered to fifth and sixth graders only.

8. Plan A requires the reduction of one-half of a current art position, one and one-half of current music positions, and two current elementary classroom teaching positions.

High School Electives

Since A. W. Beattie Career/Vocational School currently offers a child development program in which Pine-Richland High School students are able to enroll, Bucci is proposing that the district eliminate the child development program at the high school.

Music electives such as Beginner Piano and Music Theory would also be eliminated. These reductions in programming would eliminate one family and consumer science position and one-half music position at the high school. 

Click here to see Pine-Richland School District budget documents, emails and a timeline.


Stacy May 22, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I don't assume that 30 people are a majority but do agree with you that apparently the only way to be truly heard is to gather a crowd and publicly lambaste the school board. Honestly, I find that system a shame and disheartening, but see where that is what some of the school board responds to.
a mom May 22, 2012 at 07:34 PM
I am thrilled that you are amused and sparking a lively debate is my intention. I am glad that you took the time to write to the board and express your thoughts. I am just saying that those letters used to be read at school board meetings and when I said that your name was not amongst those who corresponded that is a fact. Your name is in the minutes. Probably an oversight due to the amount of correspondence. I will say to you and everyone out there that I cannot use my name and not due to a child being in the district,nor due to voluntering in the district. Many people do know who I am. I am only protecting those who work in the district. If that is not an acceptable excuse than you and everyone else who does not know who " A mom " is will have to deal with it. Taxpayers do not get a vote. We vote for school board members to make our votes. A sad day Stacy is when one has to hide their identity due to reprucussions from administration and the school board. Hey, Stacy and if you would have attended last nights meeting you would know that the decorum was refined and their were no emotional rants.
Stacy May 22, 2012 at 08:37 PM
"a mom", I like "lively debate" as well...until it becomes personal and leans into a more emotional than factual conversation. OK, I get it: You must remain anonymous because you feel you are protecting someone at the school. Got it. Of course, there is no way to double check you on this claim nor can I incorrectly make statements and then realize that I must retract them(IE: in regards to my letter to the board) So let's move past that. As for the decorum in the meeting last night: I was told that there was in fact outbursts and emotional rants about the cuts as well as a sidetracked issue of concussion policy. I was also told that some kids sang in support of the music program. Either way, my letter and hence opinion needs to hold the same weight as every other adult opinion *whether I am in a room for a meeting. (I say "adult" as children do not pay taxes) It is horrific to think that the suggestion is that a school board reacts to the crowd physically before them....and I sincerely hope that is not what happened last night.
a mom May 23, 2012 at 12:16 AM
You were told that decorum included outbursts and emotional rants. Had you been there you would know that it was a dignified meeting. I will tell you Stacy that it is not one person I protect but all who are in the union. Many are colleagues and remain friends. The children who stood up and sang before the board were dellightful. The 1st ammendment right protects all of us and not just adults. The voice of the youth were there and they are the ones being affected. Did you know that children at Eden Hall had a petition against the budget cuts? Did you hear about the senior that moved here in 4th grd who has been bullied through out her esteemed career at PRSD? The only thing that made her feel that she belonged was music. Horrific, is a strong word to use in regards to last nights meeting. Debate is over until next year. I will tell you what I told Parent #2 and that is "you speak of which you do not know". Saying "I heard" shows your ignorance and next year I am sure you will be at the budget meetings. Maybe next year I can sign my name proudly, but unless everyone I am associated with either resigns or retires I will remain "A mom". And to those of you who know who I am that is because you are entrusted friends in the district. Stacy, unfortunately you and I will be paying the price, but not because of my words. And if I have to sat it again in the Patch "KIDS ARE GOATS". This is slang at its best and if you want to sound reasonably intelligent do not use slang.
Stacy May 23, 2012 at 01:06 AM
To "a mom", OK, you have really lost me now. I guess I have to start with your last 3 sentences which make no sense whatsoever. You "sat again in the Patch "KIDS ARE GOATS"" ? Maybe you are referring to something written in the Patch about calling kids goats? Or you are upset that I stated that some "kids sang in support of the music program"? You seem to be really determined to attack on a silly level which is odd coming from someone that has used the term "whatever" to address other peoples opinions. I was not being condescending about CHILDREN singing. Perhaps you have fought too much today or refuse to see any other position but your own: good luck with that.

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