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School budget in Waynesboro includes tax increase

June 22, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A 2.76 increase in the mill rate was approved by the Waynesboro Area School Board Tuesday, a hike that will add $48 a year to an average district taxpayer's bill.

The operating budget for 2005-06 comes in at $40,441,385, some 4.78 percent higher or $1,843,505 more than the current year's appropriation, Schools Superintendent Barry L. Dallara said.

Added to the operating budget is another $2,554,870 for separate budgets for capital reserve, athletic and food service funds for a grand total of about $43.5 million, Board President Larry Glenn said.

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The budget closes a $554,386 gap between revenues and expenditures with the mill increase.

One mill, which represents $1 for every $1,000 of assessed real estate property value, brings in about $200,000, said Caroline Dean, the district's business manager.

Members Todd Rock and Leland Lemley voted against the budget. Rock then voted with the majority to raise taxes to pay for it. Lemley did not.

Rock and Lemley said before Tuesday's vote that their fellow members never took the time to go over the budget item by item to see if any cuts could be made.

"We didn't go through the budget line by line so we don't know if we could have found cuts here and there," Rock said.

The board doesn't make enough of an effort to go through the budget, Rock said. It just takes the recommendations of Dallara and Dean, he said.

"Without doing that, how can we know if it couldn't be cut? I'm not anti-education. I'm doing my best for every student, teacher and taxpayer," Rock said.

Leland was less polite to his board colleagues.

He said the members turned over their responsibility to the superintendent and business manager because the budget is too complicated for them to understand.

"Is that all you ran for the board for? Just to come in here and vote," he said.

"I never had a problem getting information on the budget," Board member Stanley Barkdoll said in response. "I got all the answers to all of my questions and full cooperation from the administration."

Member Chris Devers said he received the information he needed during the budget workshops.

Glenn said after the meeting the board held budget workshops every month since January.

Lemley and Rock only attended about half of the workshops, Member K. Marilyn Smith said after the meeting.

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