Meadville Tribune

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June 18, 2013

Outsourcing at center of Crawford Central budget talks

(Continued)

VERNON TOWNSHIP — MARC back on the table

For Roe, a line item added to the budget since the board put its preliminary budget into place in late May presents a stumbling block.

Business Manager Guy O’Neil told the board that a line item of $66,700 has been added to provide funding for Meadville Area Recreation Complex. Of that, approximately $20,000 represents the MARC’s share of debt service on the biomass burner built to provide heat for the Meadville middle and senior high schools and Crawford County Career & Technical Center as well as MARC — and approximately $40,000 is “for swimming.”

“The MARC bothers me,” Roe said. “That’s money that should be used in other places. Times are tough. People had better get used to it.”

After the meeting, VanTuil described the amount shown on the line item as “tentative.” According to VanTuil, a meeting is scheduled for Thursday between delegations representing the school board, Meadville Area Recreation Authority and the Community Action Team formed to facilitate discussions between the two.

“A more detailed explanation of the district’s possible contribution will be presented at that time — and discussion will continue based on that meeting,” VanTuil said. “Progress is being made — because at least the MARC is back in the budget as a line item, although the exact amount is still up for discussion.”

During its May monthly meeting, the school board agreed to outsource its technology services to Questeq, a technology management firm headquartered in Coraopolis, at a cost to the district of approximately $540,000. Part of that change will eliminate the positions of two current computer technicians, who will be hired by Questeq, as well as two positions the district has been unable to fill. However, those positions were not part of the conversation Tuesday night because, according to VanTuil, neither technician belongs to the support staff union.

As for the current state of negotiations between the district and its unions, “We are working very hard to resolve both teachers and support staff contracts,” VanTuil said. “We are meeting constantly.”

Crawford Central School Board will take its formal vote on the district’s 2013-14 budget at noon on June 28. The board will also meet for its regularly-scheduled board meeting at 5:30 p.m. on June 24. All meetings will be in the Instructional Support Center, 11280 Mercer Pike, in Vernon Township.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mspicer@meadvilletribune.com.

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