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Salisbury School Board OKs 4 Percent Tax Hike

The Salisbury Township School Board approved the final 2012-2013 budget, which includes a 4.06 percent tax increase.

The Salisbury Township School Board recently approved the which includes a 4.06 percent tax increase.

The $30.6 million spending plan, unanimously adopted June 13, included several staff cuts. The tax increase brings total real estate millage to 48.7540. The 4 percent tax increase means the homeowner of a property worth an average assessed value of $71,000 would pay an additional $135.

"It's been a really long and difficult process," Business Administrator Christine Stafford told the school board. Stafford said she was "less than satisfied" with the final budget, but that "it protects almost all" of the programs from previous workings of the budget.

The board was forced to make difficult choices as the district faces declining enrollment, declining revenue and state reimbursements, increased contributions to the state Public School Employees Retirement System and unfunded state mandates, including more than $500,000 to send district students to charter schools.

"I wish I could say it's going to get easier next year," Stafford said. "I don't think it will, except for me." at the end of July. , formerly of the Chester Upland School District, was named as her replacement last month and serve a three-year term beginning Aug. 1.

Board Vice President Tom Mantz, who said he had been determined not to vote for a 4 percent tax increase, changed his mind but noted the board's agenda that evening included 64 personnel changes, with 58 of them "negative" in some way.

"That's outrageous for a district our size. All I can say is it could have been worse," he said.

Director George Gatanis said he wrestled with the tax increase, but decided the district could not afford a lower tax increase without dipping into the fund balance.

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