The Lower Dauphin School Board passed the 2017-18 budget which would not increase taxes for a sixth consecutive year and nine of the past 10 years.
This year’s $63.4 million budget holds the millage rate at 18.42 which equates to a $1,842 property tax bill on a property assessed at $100,000. In order to balance this year’s budget, the board approved spending $2.5 million from district restricted reserve accounts.
“We don’t like to use our reserves in this way,” she said. “But using these restricted reserve funds will off-set one-time expenditures which we won’t need to replace in the next budget. On the whole this is a lean budget which still moves several district initiatives forward.”
Those initiatives include the implementation of the full-day kindergarten program at all Lower Dauphin elementary schools, the completion of the one-to-one laptop program at the high school which sees every student paired with a laptop computer for their four-years at the school; and the start of a one-to-one laptop program in sixth-grade in the middle school.
Expenditures in the budget are increasing 3.57 percent from the 2016-17 year, roughly $2.2 million. However, Dr. Smith pointed out that over $850,000 of that increase is due to state-mandated pension increases. The budget also includes funds for building renovations at East Hanover Elementary School and South Hanover elementary School and the replacement of internal HVAC controls at Londonderry Elementary School at a one-time cost of $620,000. Without the pension increase and the building work, the budget in only increasing 1.1 percent or $714,462.
The district is also facing an unanticipated increase in special education costs of more than $380,000 due to an increase in the number of students, many of whom have severe needs.
On the revenue side of the budget, Dr. Smith is not planning on receiving an increase from the state for basic education and special education costs, keeping the line items at last year’s levels. Local revenue is predicted to increase slightly next year with growth in the earned income tax and in funds from property taxes.
Lower Dauphin School District Tax Rates 2017-18
Real Estate Millage 18.42 mills Earned Income Tax 1 percent of earned income Occupation Tax $250 Per Capita Tax $5 Lower Dauphin 2017-18 budget