Daniel Boone School Board OKs budget with tax hike

The Daniel Boone Area School Board voted 5-3 on June 18 to balance the 2018-19 budget with a .63 mill property tax increase.

Effective July 1, property owners will pay an additional $63 for every $100,000 of assessed property value.

The budget of $59,008,421 was also balanced by using just over $2 million of the district’s year-end fund balance surplus of $5,370,444.

Chief Financial Officer Loren Small said the district’s projected ending fund balance in June 2019 will be $3,343,341.

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Board members Beverly Albright, Steven Miller and Julia Olafson voted against the budget and tax increase. Member Aaron Durso was absent from the meeting.

“I’m concerned the fund balance will be down by 22 percent,” Miller said prior to the vote, adding, “I don’t think it’s prudent.”

When board Vice President Jeffrey Scott asked if he’d had a different millage amount in mind, Miller said yes, increasing the millage to the index.

A tax increase to the index (3.2 percent — the maximum amount allowed by Act 1), was approved in the preliminary budget on May 14, with a vote of 8-1. Member Michael Wolfe opposed that motion.

“I’ve always said that we should be using the fund balance first,” Wolfe said on June 18, adding “that is money taken from the taxpayers.”

Taxes would have increased from 30.2 to 31.1664 mills, an additional $96 for every $100,000 of assessed property value.

Small said the district’s new revenue was estimated at almost $1 million.

The budget started to change when board President David Rathgeb said at the board’s June 4 budget meeting that he would oppose a motion increasing taxes to the index.

“But, I would do a .6 mill increase,” said Rathgeb.

Although his motion of that amount at the board’s June 11 Committee of the Whole meeting was met with silence from the board, the June 18 voting meeting agenda included the .63 mill increase.

Wolfe said he still believes that the district’s financial future should be decided by voters.

“At some point we won’t be able to tax ourselves out of the hole and we’ll need to go to referendum to pay for basic education,” said Wolfe on May 14.

“What about the (projected) negative fund balance the next two years?” asked a board member on May 14.

Building repairs

In other business, board members agreed to proceed with Phase 1 of sealing, repointing, and replacing expansion joints this fall at the former Birdsboro Elementary Center.

The $200,000 of building winterization repairs would be paid from the $300,000 the board earmarked for the Birdsboro building.

James R. Thompson, president of Thompson Associates Architects and Planners, Harrisburg, will present the bid specs package to the board at its Aug. 13 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Future Phase 1 repairs would include restoring the gym, estimated at $403,000, and restoring the east and north (upper) facades of the classroom wing, estimated at $555,000.

Phase 2 repairs include restoring the rest of the classroom wing (west and south facades), estimated at $742,000.

Phase 3 repairs would be restoring the rest of the building (single story wings around the perimeter of the building), estimated at $694,000.

Personnel moves

Board members unanimously approved the appointment of Chief Financial Officer Loren Small as assistant to the superintendent, for one year, effective July 1.

The board unanimously approved on June 18 the resignation of board Recording Secretary Kathlene Haines, effective June 30, so that she may assume the new role of chief financial officer.

Two retirements were also approved: Daniel Boone Area Intermediate Center Principal Dane Miller, effective Aug. 31, and Daniel Boone Area Middle School Assistant Principal Phil Repko, effective Sept. 1.

High School Assistant Principal Megan Weber has been appointed the new principal at Daniel Boone Area Intermediate Center.

Frank Flanagan was hired June 18 to replace Weber at the High School, effective July 1, at an annual salary of $80,000.

Curtis Fleming was hired as assistant principal of the Daniel Boone Area Intermediate Center, effective July 1, at an annual salary of $80,000.

Moises Rivera was hired as assistant principal of the Daniel Boone Area Middle School, effective July 1, at an annual salary of $80,000.