- Story Ideas
- Send Corrections
The Boyertown Area School District’s School Board approved a preliminary budget for the 2013-2014 school year, with a 2.75% tax increase for the district in order to close a $1,464,242 deficit in the budget that totals $95.5 million.
The tax increase would include a .67 mills, or 3.06% tax increase for residents of Berks County and a .55 mills, or 2.45% tax increase for Montgomery County residents. This increase would equate to an additional $67 tax payout to the district in Berks County and $55 in Montgomery County for a $100,000 home.
According to the district’s Business Administrator David Szablowski, the $1,464,242 deficit is the result of a $3,100,092 increase in expenditures from the previous year, offsetting the district’s $1.157 million growth in revenue. Most of the increased expenditures are due to increases in health insurance and retirement contributions as well as a 3% increase in salaries paid to teachers and employees of the district.
Despite these tax increases, Boyertown Area School District’s tax rates would remain in the lower half of tax rates in Montgomery County districts and will likely still remain the second lowest in Berks County.
“Our other options would be to cut programs, not add to staff or any other expenditures,” said Szablowski. “And we don’t think that is the right thing to do for our kids.”
The preliminary budget does not include any cuts to student programs, instead the budget includes the addition of ten new staff members. These additions include a new BASH Learning Support Teacher position, one new Intervention Teacher split between Pine Forge and Earl Elementary schools, a new Elementary Emotional Support Program to be housed in Boyertown Elementary, an HVAC Maintenance Technician, Assistant Athletic Trainer, and one Reading Specialist and two Bubble Teachers to be split in between Gilbertsville and New Hanover Upper Fredrick Elementary schools to reduce class size and accommodate these two school’s growing population.
As it stands right now, the district stand to gain around $1 million in increased revenue from Governor Tom Corbett’s recently proposed Pennsylvania State Budget. This is mostly due to an unexpected $317,485 increase the district will receive in Basic Education funding and proposed pension reform. Corbett has proposed tightening the “collar” on contribution rate jumps to the Pennsylvania School Employee Retirement System (PSERS), limiting how much the state’s school districts contribute now and extending the time it will take to fund PSERS. The increased collar is going to save the district about $450,000 in contributions to PSERS for the 2013-1014 budget. These changes have already been incorporated into the preliminary budget, but because this is only a proposed state budget it is still subject to change.
“Every year we have a tax increase, it becomes the base for next year’s tax increase. Its like going up a set of steps to oblivion,” stated board member Joseph Nichols.
“ I will support the preliminary budget knowing that there’s work to be done. I know its not a final budget but I certainly would not be supporting it if it was a final budget.”
“We’re all taxpayers, we all have our household budgets,” Szablowski told the board. “ I would rather in my budget have very small increases so that the budget can slowly keep up . I find that tax payers have a very short memory, ‘yes, thank you for not raising my taxes for five years, but where now am I going to come up with an 8% tax increase on my house this year.’ I’d rather see slower, more controlled, financially sound decisions rather than zero, zero, zero, and then a major increase.”
Final approval for the 2013-2014 budget is scheduled for June 4.