Seneca Valley officials are looking to vote on a proposed final budget with a deficit that has been slashed in half.
At Monday’s school board meeting, Lynn Burtner, the district’s business manager, said the $2.8 million funding gap predicted for 2013-14 school budget has been reduced to $1.44 million, mainly through personnel attrition and benefits savings.
“There were changes in both revenues and expenses, a lot of them working in our favor,” she said.
Some of those factors include new developments in the communities that make up the district, which has bumped up the value of a property tax mill.
Burtner said one mill of property tax is now valued at $525,000, up from $515,000 last school year. The increase will bring the district an extra $265,375 at the current tax rate, she said.
Switching to a countywide collection of earned income taxes also brought in $500,000 for the district, while Cyber OPT contracts with other school earned Seneca Valley an additional $100,000.
Salary reductions, mostly due to retirement attritional savings, also will save the district about $505,000.
Superintendent Dr. Tracy Vitale said 17 teachers are retiring this year. Three of those positions won’t be replaced. Newer teachers at lower salaries will replace the 14 other educators who are retiring.
“It is there where you will see savings,” Vitale said.
The district also is getting rid of the $25 annual activity bus put in place for students last year after learning the state will reimburse districts for bus runs—but only if they don’t charge students.
The reimbursement will bring in somewhere between $125,000 to $150,000, Burtner estimated.
The budget also calls for 1.5 furloughs at the secondary level. A cut in secondary English and Science programs also will cause two veteran teachers to move into other positions, Vitale said.
Under the 2 percent inflationary index set by the state, Seneca Valley is allowed to raise property taxes by 2.2 mills. The state also approved the district to raise taxes by an additional 3.3 mills under Act 1, bringing the total amount Seneca Valley is allowed to raise taxes to 5.5 mills.
Also known at the Taxpayer Relief Act, Act 1 permits district to increase property taxes above the inflationary index.
Burtner said raising taxes by the 2.2 mill inflationary index leaves the deficit between revenues and expenses at $286,568. Proposed expenditures total about $101 million. Revenues are estimated at about $99.5 million.
Burtner said raising taxes by 2.75 mills would balance the budget.
What happens next is up to officials.
School board members are expected to vote at next week’s meeting at 8 p.m. May 13 on whether to adopt a proposed final budget. If it is approved, the budget will be on display to the public through mid-June.
Officials are expected to vote at the June 17 school board meeting on whether to adopt a final budget.
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