The Boyertown School Board of Directors approved a $101 million proposed budget for the 2014-2015 school year. The budget would bring a 4.22 percent property tax increase to Berks County and a 1.78 percent increase to Montogmery County. The total budget increase for the district is 2.99 percent.
On Tuesday, April 22, the budget passed with a vote of 7-2, board members Christine Neiman and Paul voted against the multi-million dollar proposal.
The final proposed budget must be approved and be made available at least 30 days before the adoption of the final budget. The board will be approving the final budget on June 3.
Prior to the board’s vote, the district’s business administrator David Szablowski provided a summary of budget process. He stated that there will be a difference between the budget presented and the one which will be presented in June.
“I’m going to continue to fight for our taxpayers,” said Neiman during board comments. “They cannot afford tax increases any longer. I think this administration can do a lot of cutting. I cannot support a budget like this.”
The total expected budget for 2014-2015 school year is currently set at $101,192,593.
Stengle questioned how many votes were needed to pass the budget and what would happen if the budget did not pass on schedule.
Szablowski confirmed that five votes were needed in order for the budget to pass. The district’s solicitor Jeffery Sultanik offers two reasons, one of which was financial and the other regarded the statutory duty of the school board to pass the budget on time.
“As a board member, I have put a lot of thought and hours of looking at numbers to decide whether to vote yes for this budget,” said Jill Dennin, emphasizing that she represents everyone in this community. “I am fully aware of the economic difficulties of this community. There is not much that one person can do to ease that burden.” She noted that something needed to be done about charter schools, among other things. “We have no control over it as board members. I will be voting yes—I hope in the future, we don’t have to continue to have tax increases in this district.”
Board member Robert Caso stated that he would also be voting yes, reluctantly. “I don’t think we’ve done enough to rein in personnel costs,” he said prior to voting.
The preliminary budget, which was set at $100,969,639, was approved by the board on Feb. 11.
The preliminary Real Estate Millage for 2014-2015 is projected at 23.47 in Berks County and 23.38 in Montgomery County. Once the final budget is approved, the tax rates will take effect.
The final budget adoption is scheduled for June 3 in the high school auditorium. The next school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 13, at the Education Center.