Hollidaysburg school tax won’t increase

The Hollidaysburg Area School Board voted Wednesday to approve a final $50 million budget with no tax increase.

The vote was 8-1, with Lois Kaneshiki casting the no vote. Kaneshiki said during late May budget discussions that it would be wise to raise taxes minimally, a tenth of a mill, to generate money to put into the underfunded capital reserve. Physical Plant Director Philip Smith had said the capital reserve fund needed for future

projects is underfunded.

Board President Ron Sommer, Vice President Scott Brenneman, Lonna Frye, Ron Yoder, Rick Gallagher, Jim Gregory, Melissa Mitchell and Robert Vonada voted to approve the budget. Based on past years that ended in a surplus, next year might also yield a surplus despite a projected deficit. For that reason, Sommer has said the board should not raise taxes.

After using funds purposely set aside for retirement cost stabilization and roof upgrades, the projected net deficit of $507,454 for the year ending June 2019 is planned to be absorbed by using the district’s undesignated savings.

Since 2010-11, the district’s previous deficits have been balanced with debt refinancing generating $4.3 million in savings, a net reduction of 20 employees through attrition, the sale of two buildings and strict monitoring of spending, according to district business manager Susan Baker.