Seneca Valley Has No Plans for Tax Refund
The district receives additional funding from the state, prompting questions about its budget.
After reviewing a breakdown of the numbers at Monday's school board meeting, Seneca Valley officials said they have no plans to issue taxpayers a refund using unexpected money received from the state.
Business director Lynn Burtner said the district will receive an additional $462,000 from the state under its revised budget for education funding. The district already has received an additional $250,000 in Accountability Block Grant funding, which Burtner said would be used for literacy training.
In response to questions from board member Eric DiTullio, Burtner said the basic education money would generate .89 of a mill in real estate taxes if it were used to offset tax increases approved by officials for the 2011-12 school year.
In May, district officials voted 5-4 to approve a 5.6 mill increase in real estate taxes. Along with added activity fees and the curtailment of a half-dozen district programs, the increase helped address the $10 million deficit the district faces in the next school year.
If a refund were issued because of the additional state funding, Burtner said the amount returned to taxpayers would depend on Butler County’s assessed property value of their homes.
A person with a home assessed by the county at $75,000 would receive a $9.14 refund, Burtner said. A homeowner with a property assessed at $250,000 would receive a $30 refund.
Superintendent Dr. Donald Tylinski questioned if using the money to issue a potential refund of less than $30 per homeowner was preferable to using it for district programs.
“If I were a parent, I would question that,” he said.
DiTullio suggested reducing the district’s current tax rate of 105.6 mills by .89 mills as a starting point for the 2012-13 budget process. He pointed out this would have been the rate approved by officials if the district had received the additional state funding before the board approved the 2011-12 district budget.
DiTullio said the move would be an act of goodwill by the board to show taxpayers the district is making an effort to lower tax rates.
He added Seneca Valley likely would face another large deficit for the 2012-13 school year.
“Next year is going to be ugly again,” he said. “It won’t be $10 million, but it’s going to be tough.”