AMITY — The Daniel Boone Area School Board voted 3-2 Monday night to opt in to the state’s Act 1 index, which will determine how much the board can raise property taxes for the 2014-15 school budget.
By opting in, the school district will have the option to use its retirement exception and raise taxes above the district’s Act 1 index of 2.8 percent to 3.97 percent.
The millage rate would increase from 28.96 to 30.11 mills — an additional $137.
Board President Richard Martino said revenue from the tax increase with the retirement exception would be $1,108,000.
The district’s retirement costs will increase by $1.3 million in 2014-15, contributing to the district’s expected budget deficit of $3.5 million.
Martino and board Vice President Connor Kurtz voted against the motion to opt in.
The motion was approved by the three other board members in attendance on Jan. 27: Andrew Basile, Carol Beitz and Monica Hamill.
Absent from the meeting were board members Suzanne Dungan, Robert D. McLaughlin, David Rathgeb and Tamara Twardowski.
The board also accepted the resignations of McLaughlin and Hamill from the board.
Hammill said she is resigning for personal reasons. McLaughlin has missed several meetings.
Both of their terms expire in 2015. The board is seeking applicants to fill both seats.
Hamill reminded the board that it was the recommendation of interim business manager Kim Seldomridge on Jan. 13 for the district to opt in.
His budget projections through 2017-18 indicated that the district’s budget deficits will require annual tax increases.
“Not opting out at this point would give flexibility to keep kindergarten in the budget,” Seldomridge said on Jan. 13. “My recommendation is to not opt out -- too many unknowns. My best guess now with the exception is that you can fund kindergarten.”
A tax increase would keep kindergarten, but not sports, extracurriculars, elementary band, and 27 staff positions, including four middle school teachers.
“The board voted the last couple of years to ‘opt in’ — to make it available, but didn’t use it,” said Basile.
If the board had chosen to raise taxes for 2013-14, after opting in, the district would have had an additional $666,000 in revenue.
Seldomridge said kindergarten is a $607,000 expense (with salaries and health care), and an additional $138,000 for mid-day transportation.
“I think there are savings to be made, and tightening our belt, and don’t believe the need to have too many options,” said Martino about wanting to opt out of Act 1.
The board also unanimously approved the resignation of Jeff Haas, as director of educational technology, effective March 7.
Board members also approved for Acting Superintendent Patricia Sanker to meet with Ray And Associates Inc., Austin, Texas, and review the contract for the superintendent search at a contract cost of about $15,500.