Lower Dauphin’s 2021-2022 budget does not contain a property tax increase. This is the 10th consecutive year and 13 of the past 14 years that taxes have not increased.
The school board voted to approve the proposed spending plan on Monday, June 7, which closes a gap between revenue and expenditures by using nearly $3.7 million from the district’s reserve funds.
“We don’t like to balance the budget by dipping this far into our reserves,” said Superintendent Robert Schultz. “However, we recognize that this was an extraordinary year and our homeowners are facing extraordinary circumstances and we didn’t feel it was appropriate to compound our taxpayers’ financial difficulties with a tax increase.”
The budget of $69,875,000 has a projected decline in revenue of $82,466. Local revenue sources are expected to drop $124,726 – the second such drop in as many years. The biggest drop is in returns on district investments ($375,000). The district is expecting money from federal sources to increase from the current budgetary year by $1,728,541 with the bulk of that in the form of grant monies.
On the expenditure side, the district is anticipating a 2.79 percent increase from the current fiscal year. The district continues to see increases in state-mandated pension spending, special education costs and tuition payments to cyber-charter schools. In pension spending, the district is allocating $10,176,662 next year, an increase of $333,605. Special education costs grew nearly $500,000 from last year’s budget, increasing to $11,725,167. Cyber-charter school tuition payments are projected to increase $235,000 for next year, resulting in a $1,695,000 line item.
The district plans to use three federal grants next year totaling slightly more than $2 million next year. That will leave $3.5 million in federal stimulus money remaining to be spent prior to September 2024.
“We’re trying to use those funds in a way that we do not create a structural deficit in our budget, and we’re hopeful that we will see some bounce-back in local revenue when the financial impact of the pandemic lessens,” Dr. Schultz said.
Lower Dauphin School District Tax Rates 2020-21
Real Estate Millage 18.42 mills Earned Income Tax 1 percent of earned income Occupation Tax $250 Per Capita Tax $5