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Early draft of Waynesboro schools budget shows 4-mill increase, lunch-price hike

April 09, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Early drafts of the Waynesboro Area School District's 2008-09 budget reflect a 4-mill property tax increase, as well as hikes to the breakfast and lunch prices.

Increasing the prices of breakfasts and lunches by 10 cents will allow the district's food services to remain a financially self-sufficient entity, Business Administrator Caroline Dean said.

She recommended that elementary school lunches be priced at $1.80 next year and secondary school lunches be priced at $1.95.

The school board in recent weeks has reviewed various aspects of next year's proposed budget. The final version must be submitted to the state by May 31.

On Tuesday, Dean discussed projections for $48.8 million worth of expenditures that would lead to a $1.5 million budgetary deficit for the district. She proposed moving some money from reserve funds and increasing real estate taxes 4 mills.

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Each mill of taxes generates about $226,000 in revenue for the district, Dean said.

A mill represents $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value, so a 4-mill increase would translate into $60 more in taxes for a homeowner with a property assessed at $15,000.

"There's no major, large expenditure that's happened," Dean said.

Instead, she pointed to increased costs for cyber charter schools and natural gas as well as an additional $53,000 targeted for the Franklin County Career and Technology Center.

Board member Leland Lemley questioned whether the amounts in the fund balance have been tweaked to set money aside for possible renovation projects at the middle school and Summitview Elementary School. He alleged that the expenditures are presented in a way that would allow the district to hold onto reserve funds until the renovations would possibly start in a few years.

"We (would) look like heroes because we can do the projects without raising taxes in (that) given year," Lemley said.

Superintendent Barry Dallara disputed Lemley's allegations.

"We would never try to figure out a budget that would manipulate a ... fund balance," Dallara said.

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