JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Richland principals approved the general operating budget for the next school year with a $1.998 mile increase at Monday’s board meeting.
“It’s been a tough budget year,” district business manager Corina Long said afterwards.
School officials cited several reasons for the increase, ranging from inflation to the rising cost of utilities.
The new mileage rate is 51.948, down from 49.95.
Long said the extra tax money would provide Richland with about an additional $396,000 a year.
Revenues are expected to be $24,942,687 and expenses for next year at $26,906,431.
Superintendent Arnold Nadonley also pointed to the cost of cyber charter schools to public education as a need for increased revenue.
He said Richland has 26 students in cyber or charter schools, some of whom never attended the district or left.
It cost the institution about $400,000 in the last school year.
For each Richland student enrolled in an e-school, the district pays that organization a fee based on what it spends per learner, because charters are taxpayer funded.
Nadonley told the board he should reach out to area lawmakers to inquire about cybercharter reform that will help public schools.
“That has to change,” he said. “It’s bankrupt school districts.”
During the meeting, the board also renewed many software and license contracts for the new years.
Nadonley said Richland tries to line up recurring deals all at once, which makes it easier rather than approving them piecemeal throughout the year.
Board member Tim Warshel has requested approval to purchase 70 replacement Chromebooks and licenses for elementary teachers and staff for $31,990.
His question was about the lifespan of computers.
Richland has a four-year replacement cycle for Chromebooks.
When erased devices are obsolete, seniors can buy them for $20 plus shipping, and the district offers them to businesses that buy old technology in bulk.
Warshel also asked if the computers could be donated to the Cambria County Library, and school principal Tricia Shaffer also suggested nursing homes as an option.
Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5054. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.