Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District has not raised taxes in at least four years.
That record will stretch a little further with a 2015-16 budget that actually dips taxes on both sides of the county line.
The final budget, passed Tuesday, came in at $30,407,108. There was a $287,538 shortfall between expenses and revenues, which will be covered by the district’s fund balance. There was just one vote against the spending plan, from board member Jim Verbeck.
Taxes were set at 51.49 mills in Centre County, down 1.17 mills from last year. In Clearfield County, residents will pay 109.16 mills, down from 110.02. The millage rates were passed unanimously.
P-O straddles the border between Centre and Clearfield counties, and the wide difference in rates is actually about making the taxes on a similar property the same in both areas, which assess taxes in different ways. According to business manager Michael Conte, the tax rate often teeters, with residents in one county seeing a slight increase while the other decreases from one year to the next.
This year, he attributes the simultaneous reduction to a change in assessed value of real estate in both areas.
“Overall, I think we are in a sound financial position,” Superintendent Gregg Paladina said. “We haven’t raised taxes in five years, and we aren’t going to this year as well. It’s always a challenge with rising expenses and payroll. The price of everything goes up, but we’ve done a good job of balancing our expenses with what we prioritize for our children.”
The new plan includes energy-efficiency upgrades such as replacing single-pane glass windows at the high school, as well as resurfacing parking lots at the two elementary schools and repairs to the soccer and possibly softball fields.