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Chambersburg Area School District gets approval for Act 1 budget exceptions

April 27, 2011|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The Chambersburg Area School Board learned Wednesday that the district has received state approval to potentially increase taxes by an additional 1.6125 mills, if they see fit, in its 2011-12 budget.

The board's Finance Committee met on April 11 and committee members learned that the district was approved for the Act 1 index exceptions.

Anne Boryan, a Finance Committee member, reported to the board during its regular meeting Wednesday night inside an almost empty board room at the Administration Building.

Chambersburg's index, which governs how much school districts can raise property taxes in a given fiscal year, allows the district to raise taxes by 1.7 percent if they did not seek exceptions.

One hangup that Boryan addressed as a potential problem down the road is that the state and federal governments still have not informed the district of exact funding numbers, which could actually be a little more than what Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett called for in his preliminary 2011-12 budget.

"It still makes it difficult to make a budget, but stay tuned," Boryan said.

Public school funding was slashed in Corbett's proposal by about $1 billion, dropping state funding back down to 2008-09 levels. The district was facing a $2 million deficit for next year, but recently cut about $1.5 million in support staff jobs and programs.

Board member Stanley Helman, who reports to the board on legislative issues that affect the district, said there have been a "flurry of bills going back and forth" in the state House and Senate to address the cuts, although nothing concrete has materialized yet.

He said the one positive of current attention to the issues at hand could mean Chambersburg could receive a little additional money that what was originally proposed.

"But I wouldn't get too excited," Helman said.

The Finance Committee will meet again on May 10.

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