The Indiana Area School Board last night set its direction for the budget process and removed the referendum vote for a controversial 12-mill increase.
Pennsylvania school districts have the option of voting to not increase their taxes past the 2.5 percent index or of applying for exceptions to the index, which is set by the Pa. Department of Education. Monday night, by a 5-4 vote, the board chose to craft a preliminary budget and apply for exceptions to exceed the index. That does not mean the district will necessarily use all exceptions. Superintendent Dale Kirsch estimated that exceptions would be about two mills in addition to the 2.5 percent index.
In conjunction with applying for exceptions the board rescinded a November motion for a 12-mill referendum vote. Board member John Barbor explained afterward that to ask the public to decide such an important issue was the abandon the duty for which each school member was elected. The proposed 12-mill was the oly option that would have resulted in the four district elementary schools remaining in their current k-5 alignment. The vote last night means the elementary grade realignment is now official.