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

State College Area School Board Approves Proposed Budget, Tax Increase

by on May 08, 2018 9:16 AM

State College Area School Board on Monday approved a proposed 2018-19 budget, including a 2.4 percent property tax increase.

The board approved the proposed budget by a vote of 8-1, with Laurel Zydney dissenting. A final vote is scheduled for June 11.

After a 1.55 percent tax increase last year that was the lowest in the district in 10 years, the proposed increase for 2018-19 is equal to the state's Act 1 index tax limit. The increase would bring the millage rate to 45.206 and the average district taxpayer with property at an assessed residential property value of $72,546 would see a tax increase of $77.

The proposed budget includes $2.3 million for new programs. Changes to the elementary school day, approved in December, account for $1.47 million of those costs. The changes extended the school day for elementary students, adding instruction time and additional curricula. Middle schools and the high school also will shift to a later start time.

For the new student day, the bulk of the costs are for staffing, with the addition of 7.8 full-time equivalent teachers and paraprofessionals at a total of about $1.06 million. Non-recurring costs associated the new student day include $414,573 for transportation and curriculum.

Other new costs include $250,174 for primary autistic support staffing, security services and resource officer ($76,000) and the addition of an elementary school teacher ($80,651) and counselor ($80,651), among others. A new math curriculum for elementary schools will incur a non-recurring $170,000 increase in the curriculum budget over the current year.

Total revenue in the proposed budget is $158.1 million with expenses at $157.9 million.

Salaries ($69.7 million), Public School Employees Retirement System contributions ($22.8 million) and health insurance ($13 million) account for the top three expenses in the budget. 

Other expenses include $7.13 million allocated for charter schools; $6.76 million for transportation, including costs associated with the new school day schedule; and $975,496 for staff development.

Instruction costs make up 56 percent of the budget at a total of $89.72 million. Support services are 29 percent of the budget and the other 13 percent is for other expenses and financing uses, including nearly $13 million total in debt service.

Eighty percent of revenue ($126.4 million) comes from local sources, with 19 percent from the state and 1 percent from federal.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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