Tax increase set for State College Area School District residents

crosenblum@centredaily.comJune 23, 2014 

SCgrad12

Members of the Class of 2014 receive their diplomas during the State College Area High School commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 7, 2014, at Pegula Ice Arena.

ABBY DREY — CDT photo Buy Photo

— Taxpayers in the State College Area School District will see a 1.95 percent tax increase after the district school board adopted its final general fund budget Monday.

Board members unanimously approved, with no discussion, a real estate tax increase from 38.75 mills to 39.5056 mills, with each mill representing $3.95 per $100 of assessed value.

Under the budget of $126,791,664 for the fiscal year starting July 1 and ending June 30, 2015, the median district homeowner will pay an additional $54, according to the district.

The district projects that the tax increase will add $1.56 million in revenue, while assessed value growth will provide another $1.2 million.

Local real estate taxes provide 83 percent of the district’s revenue. The state supplies 16 percent, and 1 percent comes from federal sources.

The board designated $8,572,000 of fund balance to mitigate tax increases in future years tied to rising pension rates. Another $2.2 million of fund balance was assigned to help offset any legal liability for the district in future years.

Year-end budgetary transfers, including to the capital reserve fund for future building projects, helped bring the unassigned general fund to just under 8 percent, the district’s legal limit.

Elementary, secondary and adult education instruction received the lion’s share of allocations at $73,097,214. Support services was next at $37,277,630.

In other business, the board unanimously:

• approved Massaro CM Services, LLC, as the construction management firm for the plan to build a new State College Area High School on the school’s present Westerly Parkway site.

The company, which has offices in Pittsburgh and Bellefonte, was selected over Alexander Building Construction, Gilbane Building Co. and Quandrel Construction Group after the district’s Citizens Advisory Committee for Facilities conducted public interviews.

“This is a very important part of the project to get under contract and get the ball rolling,” board member Dorothea Stahl said.

• approved two construction bids to enhance the security of Mount Nittany Middle School.

The project will create a satellite office for an administrator and a secretary at the south entrance so that visitors will be screened immediately. Currently, once visitors are buzzed in, they could move through the building without walking down a hall to report to the main office.

For the project, Penn Installations Inc. will receive $104,840 for general construction, and PBCI-Allen Mechanical and Electrical will receive $59,950 for mechanical and electrical construction.

Board member Laurel Zydney said the office staff also will provide a warmer welcome to visitors.

•  agreed to move the time of the next board meeting on July 14 to 7:30 p.m. so that board members can attend a 6 p.m. State College Borough Council meeting during which municipal officials and the public will hear about the progress of the high school project.

Chris Rosenblum can be reached at 231-4620. Follow him on Twitter @CRosenblumNews.

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