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Tuscarora School Board to use surplus to lower taxes

Board members say next year's tax rate increase will be lowered from 2.5 mills to 1.78 mills

Board members say next year's tax rate increase will be lowered from 2.5 mills to 1.78 mills

July 24, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - The Tuscarora School Board agreed Tuesday to use its share of state education funding to lower taxes.

The tax rate for the next school year will drop from about 71.3 mills to 70.58 mills, said Richard Lipella, the district's business manager.

One mill represents $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property values.

Next year's tax rate was scheduled to increase about 2.5 mills from this year's rate. Now, the increase will be 1.78 mills, Lipella said.

The school board voted 6-0 in favor of lowering taxes. The other three board members were absent.

In the 2002-03 state budget, the Tuscarora school district, which includes James Buchanan High School and other Mercersburg-area schools, received about $82,000 in educational funding.

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The state budget was approved June 29, one day before the deadline for school districts to pass their own budgets.

Lipella said the Tuscarora School Board did not factor in any state money when it approved its budget last month.

After the state budget passed, school districts were told to re-examine their budgets and decide how to use their share of state educational funding.

Districts were given three choices: lower taxes, reduce debt or restore programs that were cut.

"We took no programs out, so that's not an option," Lipella said Tuesday evening during a board discussion about the state funding.

"We're choosing to give it back to the taxpayers, which I think is the right thing to do," board president Jeffrey Spidel said.

Other Franklin County school districts chose to pay down debt with their state funding.

Lipella said the Tuscarora school district does not have a lot of debt.

The Waynesboro School Board considered lowering taxes, but one board member said it could cost up to $10,000 to send out new tax bills.

The Tuscarora school district did not have that problem because bills had not been sent yet, Lipella said.

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