Penns Valley Area school board approves final 2017-18 budget with no tax increase

In a 6-3 vote Wednesday night, the Penns Valley Area school board adopted a final general fund budget for the 2017-18 school year that would come with no tax increase from the current year.

The $26,751,238 budget for next school year is a 2.43 percent increase, or $635,386 more, from 2016-17.

District business manager Lynn Naugle said the median homeowner living in the district can expect to pay about $2,133 in school taxes annually — the same as the current school year. The district millage rate is 46.69.

The decision came after the board originally failed to approve a budget recommended by district administrators that called for a 2 percent tax increase, which Naugle said would keep district revenue and expenditures equal.

With a zero percent tax increase, the district, instead, would gain at least a $260,000 deficit that could be paid off by a fund balance.

“I think we need to do as good as we can to make our resources last as long as they can (and) we still have a healthy fund balance moving forward,” board President Chris Houser said.

Naugle said the district’s fund balance after using reserves for the high school renovation project would be about $3 million.

The budget includes an increase in retirement contributions of about $345,000, an increase in medical insurance of about $308,500, a charter school increase of about $42,000 and an increase of $250,000 for required services for special needs students.

According to a district document, two positions are being added, but there are other position cuts, including that of a business education professional and a part-time art educator.