Almost all of the local school districts are headed toward property tax increases in the next fiscal year.
Here's a breakdown of each district's proposed budget:
Bellefonte Area School District
The Bellefonte Area school board on May 8 adopted its proposed final budget for the 2018-19 academic year. Included in the proposal is a 2.3 percent tax increase, which comes out to about $58 more for the average taxpayer in the district, BASD Director of Fiscal Affairs Ken Bean said.
However, the increase isn't set in stone yet. He said the proposed tax increase will hopefully go down after the school board hammers out a couple issues, such as whether the district will add a lacrosse program and financing options for future building projects.
Several main components of the budget are salaries and benefits and charter school tuition costs, which total $2.6 million (an increase of about $320,000 from last year), he said.
The total budget is currently $51,645,000 and will be considered for final adoption on June 12.
Bald Eagle Area School District
Bald Eagle Area School District's proposed final budget for next school year includes total expenditures of $33,854,806, which is $1,113,495 more than the 2017-18 budget, according to district business manager Craig Livergood.
The budget also includes a 2.66 tax increase, so based on the assessed value of the average property in the district ($31,602), property owners would see an annual increase of $25.60 in their real estate taxes, Livergood said.
Several main drivers of the budget include salaries and benefits and increases in budgeted maintenance for buildings and systems, like HVAC and lighting, he said.
The board will likely vote on the budget at its June 14 meeting.
State College Area School District
State College Area School District on May 7 approved its 2018-19 proposed final budget, which includes a 2.4 percent tax increase that will help cover the costs associated with extending the elementary school day.
About $1.1 million of the $2,304,919 for new programs and to maintain current district programming will support the additional 7.8 teachers and paraprofessional staffing that are needed to have students in school for about 45 minutes longer, as previously reported.
The school board on Monday approved the hiring of a district director of diversity and inclusivity. Seria Chatters, currently an assistant professor in Penn State's Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education, will assume the position in August, according to a SCASD press release.
“As a strategic partner and coach for students, parents and employees,” Chatters will work “to create a culture that embraces diversity at all levels, recognizes and addresses implicit bias, and highlights the importance of maintaining a culturally responsive environment,” according to the job posting.
The 2018-19 proposed final budget includes $158,110,347 of total revenue and $157,873,467 of total expenses.
The budget hearing is June 4, and the board will take action to adopt the final budget on June 11.
Penns Valley Area School District
Penns Valley Area School District's proposed budget includes a tax increase for the first time in three years.
The total budget of $28.6 million accounts for increases in retirement ($235,000), health care ($285,000), special education ($350,000), charter school tuition ($200,000) and a new career/college-ready coordinator ($100,000), according to Lynn Naugle, district business manager.
A 5 percent tax increase is proposed, so the average property owner in the district could pay about $110 more per year, Naugle said.
The budget will be finalized at the board's June 20 meeting.
Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District
Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District is the only Centre County public school district that does not include a tax increase in its 2018-19 budget, which totals about $31.5 million, Superintendent Gregg Paladina said.
The district has a relatively high general fund balance, about $8 million, and is in good shape financially, Paladina said. The district more than tripled the general fund balance since 2013, he said.
Most of the budget expenditures are for salaries and benefits, he said. The final budget is slated to be approved at the school board's June 26 meeting.