Tyrone district to raise taxes

TYRONE — The Tyrone Area School District’s proposed final 2010-20 budget will raise taxes in the parts of all three of the counties it comprises.

Board President Jim Crawford said the budget will raise taxes to the maximum allowed by the state’s Act 1 index.

“We are realizing it’s something that could be an annual event based on revenues and expenditures with increases in state pension costs, health care and yearly increases in salaries,” he said.

Business manager John Clark said the tax increase means next year the tax bill would increase by $23.68 for the average home value in Blair County, $26.42 in Centre County and $40.32 in Huntingdon County.

“The reason for the difference is when we calculate a formula — because we sit in multiple counties — we look at the weight of assessed value. In Huntingdon County, prop­erty value went up,” Clark said.

The board voted 8-0 to advertise the budget and display it for public inspection for 20 days prior to final board adoption in June. William Hartsock was absent. Mollie Bakhsheshe, Rose Black, David Fusco, Randy Miles, James Raabe, William Lash, Brian Bressler and Crawford approved the budget.

In addition to moving a budget with a tax increase toward final approval, the board voted 7-1 Tuesday to approve a three-year teach­er contract with the Tyrone Area Education Association that runs through June 30, 2022.

Board Treasurer Miles cast the lone vote against the contract and was not available for comment. Details of the contract were not available after the voting meeting in the district administration building.

The district’s 2019-20 budget is $26 million. That plan, with the tax increase, also projects a budgetary shortfall of $2.3 million at the end of next year.

“However, included in that is what we budgeted for an interfund transfer from general fund to capital reserve fund of $1.1 million,” Clark said. “So we are paying ourselves to designate money for projects that are pending that are beyond general maintenance.”

Minus the interfund trans­fer, the deficit is $1.2 million.

“We would use that much out of the fund balance if we spend every dollar we budgeted,” Clark said. The audited unassigned fund balance is $1.1 million.

“It would use almost all of our unassigned fund balance. We have other assigned amounts, so it’s not like we would be out of money, just close on our unassigned,” Clark said.

But he doesn’t expect the every dollar to be spent.

“We typically outperform our budget,” he said. “We are conservative on revenues and expenditures. With charter schools, we try to add contingencies. My prediction is we will perform better than budget is written.”

There are a few “pressure points” that are contributing to the increase in expenses, Clark said.

“Our technology needs are at a point where we need the first wave of replacement of Active Boards for all classrooms in the range of $250,000-280,000. We do have a $2 million assigned fund balance for technology that has been accumulated by surpluses from past years. That’s where we will get the funds.”

In addition, Clark said health care costs and retirement contributions have increased.

“They are annual items that increase for us. To­gether, the cost is $100,000 above the cost last year, so that’s another sizable chunk. And a third item is charter school costs. We are budgeting about another $200,000 over last year for that. It’s a tricky item. You can have a few kids joining tomorrow. The charter school tuition cost for a regular education student is $10,000 and $20,000 for a special education student. That can add up quick.”

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

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