Bellefonte school board approves tentative budget

In a 7-1 vote, the Bellefonte Area school board passed the 2015-16 final preliminary budget at a meeting Wednesday night at Bellefonte Area Middle School.

Board member George Stone was the lone opposing vote. Board member Mike Danneker was absent.

The $47.84 million budget calls for a 2.4 percent increase in taxes to help fund more than $18.5 million that would go toward salaries and about $6.5 million that would go toward health insurance through Capital BlueCross.

What this means for the average taxpayer is that they would pay $57.02 more annually, according to a report from the school district.

The average home assessment value in the district is $49,773.

Ken Bean, the district’s director of fiscal affairs, said that in the planned budget the basic education subsidy increased by $344,000, but that special education funding would remain flat for the eighth consecutive year.

Bean also said the district would see a 6.4 percent decrease in federal funding.

The board will vote on the final budget by the end of June.

Bean said the budget could change in the next few weeks, but not significantly. He also had no comment regarding what the district could receive in state funding.

The next school board meeting is 7 p.m. June 9 in the cafeteria of the Bellefonte Area Middle School.