Bellefonte school board passes proposed preliminary budget

In an 8-0 vote Tuesday night, the Bellefonte Area school board approved a 2016-17 proposed preliminary budget of $48.9 million — up from $47.6 million in the current school year.

Board member Jon Guizar was absent.

The estimated millage increase could be 1.3 percent.

However the district’s director of fiscal affairs, Ken Bean, said that’s a conservative estimate. He said he annually plans the budget for a worst-case scenario.

The district would need an extra $275,000 in the 2016-17 budget to have no tax increase, Bean said.

He said he is planning the budget with no increase from the state from the current school year for basic education funding.

Bean said he predicts the state will increase basic education funding commonwealthwide for next school year by $50 million, which would mean “minimal funding” for Bellefonte, he said.

Of the proposed preliminary budget, $18,795,612 would go toward salaries — about a 2 percent increase from the current school year.

Other budget expenses include $13,779,446 toward benefits, and the remainder would make up professional services, purchased services, supplies, property and other funds.

By law, a proposed preliminary budget must be passed by the board by the end of May. A final budget cannot be approved until at least 30 days after that.

Bean said he’ll have a final budget drafted by the middle to end of June.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo