Salisbury Mulls 4 Percent Tax Increase and Teacher Cuts
Faced with declining enrollment and more unfunded state mandates, the Salisbury School Board is considering raising taxes 4 percent and cutting 2.5 staff positions.
Faced with declining enrollment and more unfunded state mandates, the Salisbury School Board is considering raising taxes 4 percent and cutting 2.5 staff positions as it tries to balance a $30 million budget for 2012-2013.
On Monday, Business Administrator Christine Stafford presented the board with five options to close an $819,215 deficit on an anticipated $30.3 million in expenses and $29.4 million in revenue.
The options ranged from:
- no tax increase but use the district's fund balance and make additional cuts.
- 1.7 percent tax increase (about $56.66 average increase) and use the fund balance or make additional cuts.
- 3 percent tax increase (about $100) and use the fund balance or make additional cuts.
- 4.06 percent tax increase (about $134.91), no use of the fund balance and no additional cuts.
- 5.82 percent tax increase, the maximum allowed, using the Pennsylvania State Education Retirement System exception by adding to committed fund balance.
The district has about $2 million in unreserved, undesignated funds.
And because of declining enrollment in the district, the administration recommended reducing professional positions by:
- eliminating 1 temporary professional employee.
- eliminating 1 longterm substitute.
- eliminating 1.51 professional positions.
- not replacing 1 professional retirement.
- replacing two professional retirements with one lower full time employee.
- no new positions.
Salisbury Middle School will decrease its four teaching teams to three teams, Assistant Superintendent Louise Beauchemin said. She said staff reductions are based on seniority.
Among support staff positions that will be reduced or eliminated:
- 1 custodial retirement will be replaced with a part-time position.
- 3 part-time instructional aid retirements/resignations will not be replaced.
- 4 full-time instructional aid positions will have their hours reduced.
- 1 full-time food service worker position will have reduced hours.
- 6 part-time instructional aid positions wil be eliminated.
- 1 courier position wil be eliminated/realigned.
- no new position.
Of the seven board members present, most said they would likely approve the recommended 4 percent increase, although reluctantly, at their meeting Wednesday, May 9 when they will vote to adopt the proposed final budget.
A 4 percent increase means the homeowner of a property with an average assessed value of $71,000, would pay an extra $134.91, or 1.9 mills, for a total of 48.7540 mills.
"I have a hard time swallowing the 4 percent," said board member George Gatanis, who preferred a 2 percent tax increase. He suggested they look for other areas to cut.
"In what way? Extracurriculars? What are you thinking?," asked board member Jane Fischer.
Gatanis said he was disturbed the Salisbury Middle School swimming program will be cut next year to save $10,000 and said they should consider looking at more expensive cuts.
Board member Tom Mantz said he would prefer a tax increase below 4 percent. "I look at what people are making and their raises over the last several years. I don't know many who got 3 percent raises, much less 4 percent."
The board will vote Wednesday, May 9 on a proposed final budget, although reductions can still be made after it is adopted and before it votes on a final budget June 13.