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Sharon schools financial, leadership changes

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SHARON, Pennsylvania - Big changes are happening in Sharon Schools; staff cuts, a tax increase and a change in leadership. The district's school board approved the decisions during a meeting Friday evening.

"We had to furlough, eliminate 10 positions plus the tax increases and we went into our fund balance, which it doesn't solve when you have to go into fund balance next year. Those expenses are still here," said board president Melvin Bandzak.

Soon to be acting superintendent Michael Calla said students will feel the effects of the cuts in the budget for the upcoming school year.

"There will be increased class sizes at the high school level. There will be programs that were there last year that won't be there especially in the arts in the art area but it's a difficult budget year. Budgets everywhere in Pennsylvania are tight. We've taken huge hits from the state government and this year a huge hit from the federal government because of the sequestration," Calla said.

To continue paying for an armed officer at each one of the four buildings in the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary, the school board approved a property tax raise of 1.8 mills. The board president says for an average homeowner this should equal about $30 dollars.

In addition, the board accepted the resignation of Superintendent John Sarandrea who is going back to New Castle schools where he was previously a principal, teacher and basketball coach. He will start as superintendent there July 1.

The board approved the current supervisor of curriculum and instruction for K-8, Michael Calla, as the acting superintendent for a year.

"We 're going to divide some of those duties among the administrative staff and then I'll take over the role of superintendent as well, which will be more of the face of district, attending different functions, working with student discipline, working with the board of education, developing a budget," Calla said.

Calla is currently in a program to receive his superintendent certificate. He's interested in applying for the permanent position after the year is up.

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