The Uniontown Area School District is restarting a scholarship fund for graduating seniors after finding available money in an old account initially earmarked for that purpose.

The school board on Tuesday approved the establishment of a new scholarship account that will award one-time scholarships to students who are bound for college to pursue a bachelor’s degrees and who display financial need.

District business manager Sally Matthews said the district was notified by the its former bank, Key Bank, about the account, which had not been used in recent years. Matthews said the account was originally established with funds from private donors for the purpose of providing scholarships to Uniontown students and that the money can only be used for that purpose.

According to a school board document, Key Bank requested to close district accounts established for scholarship purposes. The district will open a new account at United Bank in the amount of $28,486. The amount of scholarship money awarded annually will vary based on costs and need. Awards will determined by a committee.

Matthews said scholarships awarded in the past were typically in amounts of $500 or $1,000. Scholarships will be available beginning this school year, she said.

In other business, the board assured taxpayers that any potential district property tax increase will remain below the state index for millage in 2020-21.

The board adopted a resolution that gives the district additional time to prepare its next-year budget and ensures it will not raise the real estate tax above the Act 1 index set by the state.

Schools boards are required to pass a preliminary budget by the end of January each year if they intend to raise taxes above the index.

The 2020-21 index is set at 3.5 percent for Uniontown, meaning the district cannot raise the tax rate by more than 3.5 percent next fiscal year.

The current tax rate for the district is 16.08 mills.

While school directors voted to not exceed the state index, the board could still vote to raise taxes up to the index rate at a maximum increase of 0.5628 mills.

The district has increased millage the last two years by a total of 1.65 mills following eight consecutive years of no change in the tax rate.

In addition, the board:

n Approved Judith Means as a volunteer confidential assistant in the superintendent’s office.

n Added Emily Behm, Chad Davison, Quinton Herriot, Ashley Selva, Charles Stewart and Rebecca Hall to the professional substitute list.

n Approved Vera Grimes as an assistant swimming coach and Valerie Grimes as a volunteer swimming coach for the 2019-20 school year.

n Approved Christian Kezmarsky as a volunteer boys’ basketball coach for the 2019-20 school year.

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