A preliminary budget exceeding $100 million was approved by all but one of the Boyertown Area School Board of Directors on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
The projected budget for 2014-2015 school year is currently set at $100,969,639 and is the ‘worst case scenario,’ according to the district’s business administrator David Szablowski.
To comply with Special Session Act 1 of 2006, the school district must adopt a preliminary budget and establish the proposed tax rates for the upcoming school year.
This preliminary budget must be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education to verify that any tax increase is within the Act 1 Index published by the state for each school district. Any increase in excess of the index would require voter approval at the May primary election.
At this time, the district’s preliminary budget will bring an index of 2.6 percent which exceeds the base index of 2.1 percent. That index has been calculated to result in a .58 millage increase.
The administration has requested authorization to submit exceptions that must be sent and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to allow the district to raise property tax rates in excess of the index without voter referendum.
The estimated amount of these exceptions is $1,250,423. The board approved the exceptions with a vote of 6-3.
The estimated millage increase based on the index is .58.
The preliminary Real Estate Millage for 2014-2015 is projected at 23.74 in Berks County and 23.71 in Montgomery County. One mill generates $2.3 million, therefore about $1.3 million would generate from the increase.
Based on tax equalization taxes on a $100,000 home would increase by $122 in Berks County with a total tax bill of $2,374 and an increase of $74 in Montgomery County with a total tax bill of $2,371.
Budget meetings will continue through March and April, final approval on June 3.
“The budget will change dramatically by June,” said Szablowski.
Prior to approving this budget, Board Member Christine Neiman called for an executive session to discuss the district’s current litigation in regards to the budget.
The district’s solicitor Jeffrey T. Sultanik confirmed that the board could go into executive session to discuss the litigation but cannot solely discuss the budget.
The board returned after approximately 10 minutes, at which time the preliminary budget was passed by a vote of 8-1; Neiman voted against the recommendation.
The final proposed budget is slated to be approved on April 22, with the final budget adoption scheduled for June 3.