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Tax hike, teacher raises approved in Chambersburg

June 22, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - School board members voted 7-to-2 Monday for final approval of a 1999-2000 budget raising real estate taxes four mills for property owners in the Chambersburg Area School District.

The $53.5 million spending plan raises property taxes to 127.5 mills, according to Superintendent Dr. Edwin Sponseller. "Still by far the lowest millage rate in the area," he said, comparing it to the other four school districts in Franklin County.

Included in the new budget, which takes effect July 1, are raises for teachers and administrators averaging almost 3.5 percent a year over a 10-year period, Sponseller said.

The district and teachers reached an agreement on a four-year contract extension on June 9, Sponseller said. Three years of that contract have already run, so the extension runs through the next seven years, he said.

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Sponseller said Tuesday the teachers got increases of 1 percent in the first year of the contract. Increases this year will be 4 percent.

Custodial and maintenance workers are covered under a separate contract and the union for support staff has yet to reach agreement with the district after the board voted to reject a fact finder's report earlier this month.

The new budget includes $515,000 for salary increases, more than $500,000 to fund a dozen new positions and $325,000 for increases in medical insurance costs, according to administration figures.

Sponseller said the new budget also includes money for renovations at the former J. Schoeneman Co. across the street from Chambersburg High School. He said a building there will be used for an assembly hall and classroom space "to help with overcrowding at the senior high."

Despite the tax increase, Sponseller said real estate taxes in the district remain among the lowest in Pennsylvania's 501 school district. Four mills represents $4 in additional taxes for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

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