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State College Area School District Closing In On its Final 2012-13 Budget

by on May 08, 2012 11:27 PM

In what might have been the fastest budget proposal hearing of the year, the State College Area School Board is taking steps to finalize the district's budget for the 2012-13 school year.

In a speedy, but effective 40-minute meeting on Monday night, the board listened to the proposal for the proposed final budget, with provisions that mirrored those that were discussed in the April 23 meeting.

Once again, the number that stood out was 2.4 percent, which is the proposed real estate tax increase the school board would have to enact to move its budget forward.

The number is a major dip from an original 3.3 percent tax increase that was discussed in a preliminary proposal. The tax increase then dropped to 2.7 percent before its lowest percentage, where the school board said it will stay.

The tax increase would be made up of 1.7 percent Act I permissible tax and then using a partial Act 1 exemption for pension expenses. The district will not be using any of the special education exemption for which it is qualified.

A budget hearing is scheduled for June 4 in Mount Nittany Middle School.

The budget is a win for whom the school board called the 'median homeowner,' because even with a slight hike in real estate taxes, the assessed value of a home will stay in the same range, around $70,000.

Similar to many school districts in the state and even higher education institutions, the school board has to move forward with its budget without knowing what kind of funding it will receive from the state. The State College Area School District has a May deadline for its proposed final budget and a June deadline for its final budget.

Pennsylvania's budget is supposed to be passed by June 30, but that is not a guarantee. Last year, sweeping cuts were made to education.

Other notable events at the Board of Directors meeting included:

  • Superintendent Bob O'Donnell announced that 14 students qualified in the National Merit Scholarship program;
  • A motion to purchase pre-owned buses was passed. The school buses are 2011 models, and "not a huge leap," according to the district, because they are all certified and anything that has needed repair, which was limited to dents or minor damage, has been repaired;
  • The board approved SCESPA, which is the Secretarial, Clerical and Paraprofessional Employee Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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