School board’s revenue not covering expenses

The Altoona Area School Board needs a total of 0.61 mills to fund its high school project if it is approved, according to district administration.

But it needs more revenue to cover expenses already in its budget.

Last January, Superintendent Charles Prijatelj told the board it needed to raise taxes to cover operational costs including salary increases and junior high debt.

In response, the board raised taxes for this year by 0.47 mills to generate $1.4 million annually.

Looking to next year, the district needs to find an additional million dollars to pay off debt from the construction of the junior high school. That may be achieved through another tax increase, finding cost savings, increases in other revenue or a combination.

Prijatelj said he will have a presentation on the topic in December or January once the district’s latest audit arrives in November and the administration examines it to calculate the projected structural deficit next year.

“To tell people we won’t raise taxes to cover the structural deficit would be lying to them,” Prijatelj said Wednesday.

“If the board takes the necessary actions over the next few years, the structural debt can be covered, and the high school project can be handled,” Prijatelj said.

For the high school project, which includes constructing a new B building, renovating the A building and demolition of the old Building, the estimated total annual cost to a taxpayer with a property at an assessed value of $50,000 is $30 per once the 0.61 mills are fully implemented.

For people with property assessed at $79,500, the hike is estimated at $48 total.

The hike on a property assessed at $100,000 would be $61 a year.

For a property assessed at $115,001 the hike would be $70.15. And for a property assessed at $150,000 the hike would be $91.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.

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