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Four-mill tax hike proposed

May 19, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The proposed real estate tax increase for the 1999-2000 school year in the Chambersburg Area School District has doubled from two to four mills in the tentative budget adopted Wednesday by the Board of School Directors.

A possible extension of the district's contracts with the unions representing teachers and support staff was cited as one reason for adding the extra two mills.

The administration upped its projected expenditures from $53.1 million by about $400,000. Along with a projected budgetary reserve of $1.5 million, the total budget would be more than $55 million next year.

"What you're approving is the maximum amount we'd be allowed to spend. It doesn't mean we'll spend all of that," School Board President D. Eugene Gayman said.

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Dr. Edwin Sponseller, schools superintendent, said he hoped an agreement to extend the teachers' contract can be reached by June 9. The budget is scheduled for final adoption on June 21.

"That $390,000 difference between last month's meeting and this month's meeting is wages, right?" asked Director William Fosnot.

"That is correct," said Business Manager George Fike.

After the meeting, Fike said he could not comment on the ongoing negotiations between the district and the unions.

The tentative budget was adopted on a 6-2 vote with Fosnot and Director Robert Helman voting no.

One mill brings in more than $180,000 in revenues to the school district. One mill represents $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value on a property.

The 1998-99 mill rate is 123.5 mills. If the board adopts the full increase, it will be 127.5 mills in the budget year that begins July 1.

The public hearing on the budget will be held Wednesday, June 2, at 8:30 p.m. in the board meeting room at the high school.

When the budget was unveiled in April, the administration estimated salary increases for all groups at $515,760. A dozen new positions were estimated to cost another $505,660 and increases in medical insurance costs were projected at $325,441.

Fike said the budget also includes more than $200,000 toward converting a building at the former J. Schoeneman Co. for classroom use.

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