Hamburg School Board opposes proposed budget

It’s back to the drawing board for the Hamburg Area School District and its budget for the 2018-19 school year.

On May 14, the school board voted 6-3 in opposition of the 2018-19 proposed final budget.

The $42,513,016 proposed final budget reflects a $1.3 million shortfall and contains a .25 millage increase and some school directors were opposed to the increase.

Voting in opposition to the proposed final budget were Lesher, Hummel, Brad Faust, Leon Grim, Cory Johnson and Brian Riegel.

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Voting in favor of the proposed final budget were Brian Specht, Andrew Raugh and Maggie Rhoades.

School board member Lolly Lesher said that it would take a budget with no tax increase to get her approval.

“We can live within our means,” Lesher said. “No more taking from the public. Absolutely, we can still educate people. I’m not against the budget, but we can do it without a (tax) increase.”

Superintendent Richard Mextorf and Business Manager Michele Zimmerman have each noted previously that they have budgeted conservatively and neither expects the district to end the 2018-19 school year with a $1.3 million deficit.

During her report, Zimmerman said that the current budget was approved with a $1.4 million shortfall and now projects to be about a $50,000 deficit at year’s end on June 30.

The district has increased taxes .25 mills for nine consecutive years.

If approved, the tax on a $100,000 property would have increased to $2,721, a $25 increase.

School board member Todd Hummel previously noted that the district has finished recent years with a surplus and did not see a need to increase taxes again.

“We’re forcing our residents to contribute, forcing them to tighten their belts more and more,” Hummel said.

The proposed final budget needs to be approved by May 31, according to Zimmerman.

The final budget needs to be approved by June 30. There is a required 30-day review period between both approvals.

After the meeting, Mextorf said that he’ll need time to process the vote.

“This is the first time in 16 years that this has happened,” Mextorf said. “I’ll meet with Michele. We’ve spent a lot of time since February on (the budget). I didn’t have an equally robust plan.”

As of publication deadline, the board planed to vote again on Monday, May 21, at its regularly scheduled meeting, after print deadline. Look for updates online at www.berksmontnews.com.