Salisbury School Board Will Likely Cut Tax Increase to 3.1 Percent
Final budget decisions will be made at the June 15 school board meeting
The Salisbury Township School District's tax increase might not rise as much as expected, but a support staff position will be eliminated according to the latest proposed budget that was presented Monday, June 6 to the school board's operations committee.
Finance Director Christine Stafford presented a new proposed $30 million budget that reduced the 3.4 percent tax increase passed on May 11 to 3.1 percent. Millage would rised from from 45.445 to 46.8538, which means the owner of a home assessed an average $71,000 would pay about $100.
The board will vote on a final budget on June 15.
The support staff position that will be eliminated will save the district $52,530 a year, according to Stafford. A full-time school nurse will be retiring and replaced with a part-time nurse who will not received benefits.
In the month since the board approved the proposed budget, the deficit was reduced from $1.6 million to $1.5 million, which will be closed with the 3.1 percent tax increase that generates $603,776, and $938,441 from the fund balance, Stafford said. Superintendent Robert Gross said the deficit was "an unprecedented amount."
The proposed 2011-2012 budget projects $28,259,821 in revenue and $29,802,038 in expenditures, according to Stafford.
Gross said they cut expenses by $442,000 over the previous school year.
"The board of school directors, in dealing with the most difficult budget development in decades, were required to increase local revenues in order to compensate for the decrease in state subsidy, the loss of local revenues, and the stripping of reimbursements enacted in the governor's proposed budget," Gross wrote in an e-mail.
"The best we can hope for, based upon the most recent information from Harrisburg, is a 10.6 percent reduction in subsidy from the state," Gross said.
"The board painstakingly examined every budget item and either cut or eliminated expenditures in order to arrive at a point where the average Salisbury taxpayer would realize an increase in taxes of $100 per year. In order to retain the strong educational program Salisbury citizens demand, and in order preserve a small fund balance to use for future state subsidy reductions, this [tax increase] is a necessary action," Gross said in an e-mail.
The district's $2,140,000 unreserved fund balance will be reduced to $1,205,000 to balance this year's budget, Stafford said.
Some of the district's increased expenses include $185,500 for charter school tuition, $169,200 for the high school renovation project, $66,000 for the technology budget (which was cut last year) and an increase in health insurance costs.
An extra $4,000 has been added to the budget to pay for the district social worker's supplies and mileage because those items were unintentionally omitted.
A new trash hauling contract will save the district $5,700. Larger Dumpsters will be used because trash pickups will be made every other day instead of everyday. Stafford budgeted an extra $1,100 in case extra pickups need to be made.
The district will eliminate mid-day kindergarten transportation for a savings of $46,873, which includes estimated fuel usage and the contracted cost for the buses.