State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

School Board Holds Public Budget Hearing Before Final Approval

by on June 04, 2013 6:50 AM

Mark Higgins wants the State College Area School District to stay as outstanding as it is right now. Too many cuts to programs – such as the art and music departments – could go too far, he says, and deprive some of the students. 

"I have two children in the district, and we've been here five years now ... it's amazing," says Higgins, whose family moved to State College from suburban Chicago. "Everything here works right. We have great teachers and kids who want to show up for school."

Higgins came to the State College Area School Board's budget hearing Monday night to express his feelings about the proposed budget for 2013-14.

The proposed budget received preliminary approval at the board's May 6 meeting and comes in at $119,678,204. That's $3.1 million larger – or 2.66 percent higher– than the 2012-13 budget. The board could give final approval to the new budget at its meeting on June 10.

The proposed final budget would boost the real estate tax by 2.7 percent. That would mean a $73 annual tax increase for the average homeowner.

Salaries make up the largest expense at $56,976,702, consuming 48 percent of the proposed budget. Benefits take up another 23 percent, with a price tag of $27,176,137.

According to district officials, the primary source of school funding is local revenue, and makes up 83 percent of the budget. 

Even if the board approves the final budget next week, the process may not be over. The district could need to readjust its figures once the Pennsylvania legislature approves the state's 2013-14 budget. That's not expected to happen until the end of June.

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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