The board voted 8 to 1 to approve the 2011-2012 budget. The total expenditures will reach $28,034,974.00. The Real Estate Tax will be 24.15 mills or $2415.00 per $100,000 of assessed value. Other taxes will be a Per Capita Tax of $5.00, a Residence Tax of $5.00 , a 1% Earned Income Tax, and a 1% Realty Transfer Tax.
The school board struggled to balance this year's budget. The administration indicates the next two years will be more difficult.
Board President Robert A. Heckman pointed the finger at Harrisburg. However, the finger should be pointed at the district. Local decisions regarding, salaries, benefits, and building construction rest in the hands of the board. The state does not mandate generous pay and benefits. Nor do they require Taj Mahal buildings or spending $1,000,000.00 to "repair a track" or $500,000.00 in legal fees defending the non payment to a contractor.
In 2012, the swaption gamble on school debt will mature. It could mean, the debt service will increase by over $100,000.00. How many programs and teachers will be laid off to cover this increase because the district speculated with finances?
Most school boards have shown they are unwilling to harness wish list spending. The state should toughen Act 1 by eliminating spending exemptions and requiring referendum votes on budgets exceeding the rate of inflation.