Education

Possible changes coming for P-O schools

The Philipsburg-Osceola Area school board is considering a 2016-17 budget as well as a proposal to adjust starting times at the middle school.
The Philipsburg-Osceola Area school board is considering a 2016-17 budget as well as a proposal to adjust starting times at the middle school. Centre Daily Times, file

Philipsburg-Osceola Area school board members will have their hands full Tuesday night.

The nine-member board is set to approve a 2016-17 budget, and possibly discuss changes in middle school operations.

P-O 2016-17 budget estimated at $30,662,947

The proposed final budget was unanimously passed last month, but district business manager Mike Conte said he expects the board also to approve the final 2016-17 budget that calls for $30,662,947.

Conte said expenditures will increase by $255,839, while revenues are expected to decrease by $540,000.

The budget also comes with a tax readjustment.

P-O serves communities in Centre and Clearfield counties.

Superintendent Gregg Paladina said a proposal also was put on the table with the possibility of adjusting the middle school schedule.

The budget

The board hasn’t proposed a tax increase in five years.

But the 2016-17 budget calls for a tax readjustment that will increase by 3.4 percent in both counties.

POASD serves residents in Centre and Clearfield counties

“The formula involves a reassessment ratio of 4-to-1 in Clearfield and 2-to-1 in Centre County,” Conte said. “The formula also takes into account the STEB (State Tax Equalization Board) values as established by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Centre County’s proposed tax is 53.2407 mills and Clearfield County’s will be 112.8714 mills, Conte said.

In Centre County a $75,000 fair market valued house is assessed at $37,500 with taxes costing $1,931 in 2016, and $1,997 in 2017.

After applying the homestead relief, to those who qualify, the actual tax would cost the homeowner $1,801, Conte said.

The homestead farmstead exclusion is a tax reduction system for qualified residents who pay school district taxes in Pennsylvania.

In Clearfield County a $75,000 fair market value home is assessed at $18,750 with taxes costing $2,047 in 2016 and $2,116 in 2017, Conte said.

When the homestead relief is figured in, the tax would cost the homeowner $1,920, Conte said.

64% of budget to go toward salaries and benefits

Of the nearly $30.7 million budget, Conte said 64 percent — or $19 million — goes toward salaries and benefits.

“Although the work done by our staff is enormous, everyone is consciously watching costs,” Conte said. “The board has the awesome task of balancing instruction, support and debt services cost to meet the needs of every constituent and student that resides in our district.”

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

Breaking down the budget

Total: $30,662,947

Local contributions: $10 million

State funding: $17 million

Federal funding: $1 million

Transfer from capital reserve: $500,000

Fund balance: $1.542 million

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