State College

State College school board won’t wait for state funding to approve budget

The State College Area school board has three weeks until it votes on the final budget.

And district business manager Randy Brown said he isn’t holding his breath waiting for state funding that Gov. Tom Wolf proposed would happen.

“The governor called for basic education subsidy funding,” Brown said. “When we see what that is, we will reallocate what we get back from the government.”

But the latest State College Area budget plans include $136,135,989, and that doesn’t yet include any expected funding from the state.

Brown added that he also doesn’t expect much to change with the budget in the next few weeks.

The budget also calls for a 5.49 percent tax increase that includes 3.59 percent to help fund referendum debt.

Brown said the average taxpayer could expect to see an addition $155 tagged onto his or her tax bill, of which $101 would go toward debt payments for the State College Area High School project.

Salaries and benefits account for $88 million — or 68 percent — Brown said.

About five additional positions have also been added for next school year.

“We’re able to add positions because we’ve been fiscally conservative in the past and there is a significant need,” Brown said.

The preliminary budget has been supported by a majority of the nine-member school board. However board member Jim Pawelczyk said he’s not in favor of the plan because of the amount of money taxpayers would spend during the 25-year plan to pay off the $85 million referendum debt.

“Taxes are (increased) 50 percent higher than inflationary growth for this area,” he said.

A budget hearing is scheduled for June 1 with the voting meeting held 7 p.m. June 8 at the district administration building.