Lower Dauphin taxpayers did not see
a property tax rate increase for the 2015-16 school year after the school board approved a
$58.1 million budget in June 2015.
This budget represents the sixth time
in the last seven years that taxes were not increased by the school district.
The millage rate remains at 18.42 mills, resulting in a $1,842 tax bill on
a home assessed at $100,000.
Comparing the proposed spending plan with the current budget, Superintendent Sherri Smith pointed out that the net increase in spending was $1,336,000. When subtracting out the state-mandated increase in retirement payments of $1,149,000, expenses increased $187,000, or three-tenths of a percent over the year before.
“We’re doing our part,” Dr. Smith said. “We’re keeping expenditures under control, but we are going to need help from the state to make this work long-term.”
To balance this year’s budget and pay for one-time projects like roof repairs, water tank replacements at two schools, and funding the start-up of the student laptop program at the high school, the district is spending $1.3 million in its cash reserves.
Given the uncertainty of budget negotiations at the state Capitol, Dr. Smith said Lower Dauphin did not include any increases in state funding in this version of 2015-16 budget.
“We’re hopeful that the governor and Legislature will deliver some increase in funding, but we’re being realistic in our budget in case those talks become protracted beyond the June 30 deadline.”
Currently, state revenues make up a third of the district’s budget. Federal sources are another 2 percent, leaving Lower Dauphin taxpayers to make-up the remaining 65 percent.