The Oley Valley School District Proposed Preliminary Budget has a 1.9 Mill real increase for 2011-2012. This would increase current millage from 23.82 to 25.72 mills, a 7.98% increase. A property that is assessed at $100,000 would pay $2,572.00 in school property taxes.
Salaries and benefits are the major factors in the increase. 2010-2011 salaries of $13,605,762 will increase $273,625 to $13,879,387. Benefits of $4,900,211 will increase $431,491 to $5,331,702.
The local revenue of earned income continues the trend of declining wages. It is expected to decline 3% this year.
Federal and state revenues will also be lower.
The inflation index the state allows for millage increase is .40 mills for 2011-2012. However, the district is applying for exemptions totaling 1.50 mills.
$22,382 of that exemption is for the PSERS retirement fund reimbursement.
The issue of a budget being calculated from budget to budget figures rather than actual to budget was raised. There is a concern that using budget to budget numbers does not accurately reflect spending, especially since there have been continued significant budget surpluses over the years. These annual surpluses suggest taxes were raised too much.
A 7.98% property tax increase is excessive. The 2011-2012 budget needs to be brought in line with current economic realities. Major cuts are needed to be make the cost of education reasonable.