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Hall breaks even

SPRING VALLEY – “It was better than last year,” Hall Superintendent Mike Struna said. “It was a break even year.”

At Wednesday’s school board meeting, Struna reviewed the budget of the year just past and gave board members a preview of the upcoming year.

For the Fiscal Year 2013 just completed, Struna said the district received $117,180 from the state than it did the previous year. General state aid continued to decline, as did transportation reimbursement. Better news was seen in the increase in corporate personal property replacement taxes, which Struna said was a good sign the overall economy was improving.

While state revenues were down, local revenues were up by $154,101 from the previous year, largely because the Walmart Distribution Center came on the tax rolls.

The district ended the year with a $28,395 surplus.

“We broke even, which is great news,” Struna said.

Actually, the surplus was even bigger. The bottom line included $184,000 in expenses for the new school, which will be repaid to the operations and maintenance fund after the bond money for the new school is received.

Looking ahead, Struna said state revenue should remain fairly level, and he projected a 1 percent increase in local revenue.

On the expense side, Struna said salary increases for the certified staff would be about 1.4 percent.

“We are very lucky the teachers settled for a 1.4 percent raise,” he said.

The teachers also agreed to pay an additional 7 percent of their contribution for health care.

Expenses will go down $100,000 as the board did not refill the positions of a retiring teacher and cafeteria worker.

The board also heard an update on the new school project. Struna discussed the recent Building Committee meeting, in which the committee members discussed the options for getting the necessary Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certificate. Points are awarded for having a sustainable site; water, energy and material conservation; and air and environmental quality.

Struna said the state doesn’t want schools built that don’t conserve energy. Some options include LED lights in the parking lot or using the existing swimming pool to store rain water for watering the football field. Architect Healy, Bender will send the options to Leopardo Construction, the construction manager, to see which options are financially feasible.

“It’s something we have to do, and obviously something we want to do,” Struna said. “Not only will we save money up front, but we’ll have a low maintenance building in the future.”

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