Lower Dauphin taxpayers will not see an increase in property taxes under a budget approved by the school board for the 2012-13 school year.
Under budget, expenditures will increase to $55,295,900 which represents a less than 1 percent increase from the current school year.
“We've come a long way in this budget from when we presented our preliminary numbers in December,” Dr. Smith said.
In December, Dr. Smith was projecting a budget shortfall of nearly $1.7 million. That shortfall actually increased to almost $1.9 million after Gov. Tom Corbett presented his state budget in February.
To reduce that shortfall, $1,577,000 was cut in proposed expenditures – with $863,000 coming from the instruction portion of the budget and another $583,000 from debt payments and other financing uses.
Dr. Smith said retirements and reductions in staff have made a big difference for the district with over 30 positions not being filled after retirements and resignations in the past two years. This year alone, six professional and five support staff vacancies created through retirements and resignations will go unfilled resulting in $620,000 in savings.
Changes to student summer programs will result in another $40,000 in savings. Bringing special education students from out-of-district placements to the district's own autistic support classroom will save $38,000. The elimination of separate ninth-grade athletic teams and a shorter season for middle school teams is expected to generate $30,000 in savings. The district will save $10,000 and eliminate a teaching position with changes to the driver's education program.
“We looked at every area of our operation,” Dr. Smith said. “And while no one likes to see reductions in programs, it is a reality that all districts are facing during these challenging economic times.”
But that's not to say that things won't continue to move forward. The district will replace its 11-year old math textbooks in grade K-6 next year at a cost of $138,000 and provide for necessary maintenance repairs at buildings across the district.
“These are challenging times in public education,” Dr. Smith said. “But we're committed to our mission to provide a quality educational program for all of our students which is cost-effective at the same time.
“We believe this budget accomplishes both of these goals. It was a difficult task, but the final result is one I think our entire community can be proud of.”
The final budget will be $55,295,900 and require a millage rate of 18.42 – no tax increase. So for a home assessed at $100,000, the property tax bill will remain at $1,842. This budget is the fourth in the past five years without a tax increase.
Lower Dauphin School District Tax Rates 2012-13
|Real Estate Millage||18.42 mills|
|Earned Income Tax||1 percent of earned income|
|Per Capita Tax||$5|