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Borough budget calls for 2.5 mill tax hike for schools

April 13, 2000|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The proposed 2000-2001 budget for the Chambersburg Area School District calls for a tax hike that would average $19 per property owner.

The $56,774,475 budget proposal, unveiled at Wednesday night's meeting of the district's Board of School Directors, would raise taxes 2.5 mills to a total of 130 mills, according to Superintendent Dr. Edwin Sponseller. A mill represents $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed value on a property.

Despite the increase, Sponseller said the district's real estate tax will remain one of the lowest among the 501 school districts in Pennsylvania. As of the current school year, only 42 districts tax at a lower rate, he said.

District Business Manager George Fike said each mill will generate $186,560, a 2.7 percent increase over the current year. The tax increase will raise $466,000 to balance the budget.

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Last year the board approved a budget that raised taxes 4 mills.

The budget anticipates expenditures of $55.3 million, Fike said. There is an additional $1.5 million unfunded reserve that basically sets a cap on what the district can spend next year if expenditures exceed predictions.

Fike said 73 percent of expenditures will be for salaries, wages and benefits. Those will increase about $1.1 million next year.

The district's Blue Cross Blue Shield payments will increase by $771,000, or 20 percent, over the current year. That will be offset by a $771,000 decrease in the district's contributions to the state's teacher retirement system.

Sponseller said the pension fund has done well because of the performance of the stock markets but warned that could change, leading to increased payments in the future.

The budget includes six new positions and three positions with additional duties, adding another $242,000 to expenditures. Contracted transportation services will be going up $227,000 in the new budget, according to Fike.

The net increase over the 1999-2000 budget is $1.7 million, a little more than 3 percent, according to Sponseller. Fike said local taxes make up 57 percent of the budget with 41 percent from the state and 2 percent from federal sources.

The board will hold a public budget workshop on April 19. Preliminary adoption of the budget is set for May 10, and a public hearing will be held May 24. Final adoption of the budget is scheduled for June 12.

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