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Chambersburg school budget calls for 4-mill property tax increase

June 12, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - On an 8-1 vote Wednesday, the Chambersburg School Board approved a 2008-09 budget of $102,842,056, an increase of more than $5 million over the current year, although the district is not increasing real estate taxes as much as the Pennsylvania Department of Education would have allowed.

Board member Norman Blowers cast the only vote against the budget.

Property taxes will increase 4.07 mills, adding about $40 to the tax bill on a property with a market value of $100,000, according to the budget summary. The Department of Education had approved exemptions to the district's cap that could have allowed the board to raise taxes another $1.5 mills.

Property taxes, the main source of local income, are projected to bring in about $41 million next year. Local earned income taxes, including more than $8.3 million used to offset property taxes under Act 1, are projected at more than $15 million.

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Total local revenues are projected at nearly $63 million, while state subsidies will be $33 million, according to the budget. Continuing a trend that has been ongoing for most of the past two decades, the state's share of the budget is shrinking, down from 32.64 percent this year to 32.1 percent in 2008-09.

The district will add new programs, including 11 more full-day kindergarten classes to bring the total to 22, Assistant Superintendent Catherine Dusman said in April. That program will be completed in 2009-10 when all kindergarten classes will be full-day.

In an April budget review, Business Manager Rick Vensel said the district also was increasing its energy budget for electricity, natural gas and heating oil by more than $700,000 to more than $2.2 million.

The budget goes into effect on July 1.

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