Bald Eagle could see 3.88 percent tax increase

The Bald Eagle Area school board will meet Thursday to discuss the district’s budget.

Craig Livergood, district business manager, said the 2015-16 final preliminary budget includes $29.8 million — up from $29.3 million.

If passed by the board, taxes could go up by 2 mills or 3.88 percent.

For the average homeowner in the district, that could mean paying about $60.13 annually, Livergood said.

The average home assessment in the district is $30,063.

About 61 percent of the budget will go toward salaries and benefits, Livergood added.

But a prediction of what the district will get back from the state is up in the air.

“Historically, state revenues have comprised approximately 49 percent of total revenues (and) we expect it to be close to the same for this year,” Livergood said.

Gov. Tom Wolf's 2015-16 state budget proposal includes millions of dollars more in education funding, of which some could come from a tax imposed on natural gas drilling.

Wolf wants to increase money for education by $2 billion in four years, from pre-K programs to college, through a severance tax and an additional fee of 4.7 cents per thousand feet of volume on natural gas extraction.

The proposal also includes an increase to school district funding by $400 million, or 7 percent, and special education funding by $100 million, or 9.6 percent, and $120 million for prekindergarten programs.

The board must vote on the final budget by the end of June, even if the state hasn’t released its budget yet.