TROY - The Troy Area School Board took some budget-related action this week, and heard some financial concerns from a former school board member.

At the board's regular meeting, school directors approved placing the 2013-14 proposed preliminary budget on display and stating the intent to adopt it at the Feb. 19 meeting.

According to district business administrator Traci Gilliland, it has total expenses of $22.9 million, with a projected loss of about $2.1 million.

She had disclosed the figures following questions from former school board member and former school board president Keith Morgan.

"That's just preliminary," she told him, when he questioned the projected loss.

Morgan was concerned about the district's finances. He said taxes have been raised the past two years.

"We can't afford to keep raising taxes," he commented. He was concerned about people not having jobs, and the natural gas companies not being as active as they once were in the area.

Morgan offered his help in finding ways to get the budget in shape.

"We've got to watch where we're spending," he said.

Morgan also brought up several other concerns, such as the possibility of a new football field or track.

But district superintendent W. Charles Young told him, however, that "as far as tax dollars into a football field and track, it's not happening."

Morgan said the district should continue using Alparon Park for games, and negotiate with the park. Young and board president Todd Curren told him the board is moving in that direction.

Prior to Morgan's comments, the board had heard a McClure Electric presentation. The representative for the company had spoken about different ways that it could help the district realize energy savings over a number of years.

Morgan was concerned about where the district would get the money to pay the company to carry out the project, but Young noted that "most of it comes back from the savings." Additionally, Morgan was told that the savings were, in fact, guaranteed.

Also, Morgan expressed support for keeping the district's newsletter. The district is gauging the public to see if people want to keep it.

Morgan's comments touched off a long discussion about how the district could get its information out to the public in the future.

"I would like the local newspapers to step up," Curren said. "I would like to see the newspapers dedicate maybe a page every other week or something just to the local school districts."

School board member Rebecca Nauta thought people weren't buying newspapers "in this day and age," and she said that electronic media was an alternative way for the district to get out its message.

"There's other ways to do this," she said.

Morgan thought the cost of $6,700 a year for the newsletter was justifiable. The newsletter has been distributed in a local weekly for a number of years.

Gilliland said, "I just think that … with the way budget cuts have been, we have to start looking at every possible way that we can save money."

"I totally understand, but I can show you ways to start saving too," Morgan said.

"If you want to go in and start cutting, I can help you do it."

The board also accepted the retirements of John Seeley from a technology education position, effective at the end of the school year, and Thomas Dunbar, custodian, effective June 29.

Support staff employments were approved for Annmarie Gilliland, personal care aide; Misty Vinsek, personal care aide; Dolly Jones, four-hour casual cafeteria worker at Troy Intermediate School; and Danielle Boyd, four-hour casual cafeteria worker at Troy Intermediate School.

Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: reviewtroy@thedailyreview.com.