2.8% school tax increase approved

Members agree to compromise on the numbers

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By the numbers

Proposed 2014-15 budget:
Salaries — 41.39 percent of total budget, or $34,818,416
Benefits — 27.43 percent of total budget, or $19,370,602
Total budget (revenues and expenditures) — $73,275,107
Cost of 2.8 percent increase to average property owner — $78 (Pike County Assessment Office)
Revenue in 2013-14:
Local revenue — 61 percent, or $44,726,466
 State money — 36.78 percent, or $26,948,846
Federal money — 2.18 percent, or $1,599,795

By Anya Tikka
— The Delaware Valley board of education settled on a school tax increase of 2.8 percent when it finally passed its proposed budget on May 22.

A week earlier, the 2.8 percent plan did not pass because two board members were absent. This time, the board held a short meeting with the 2014-15 budget the only item on the agenda. The board approved the increase of 2.8 percent, or 106 mills, with a balanced budget of revenues and expenditures of $73,275,107.

Changes in assessed values

The following provides the year, the assessed value of properties in the district, and the percentage its value increased:
2005-06 — $388,263,370 — 3.95 percent
2006-07 — $404,331,908 — 4.14 percent
2007-08 — $417,560,180 — 3.27 percent
2008-09 — $426,311,495 — 2.10 percent
2009-10 — $432,207,030 — 1.38 percent
2010-11 — $436,238,436 — 0.93 percent
2011-12 — $437,641,700 — 0.32 percent
2012-13 — $439,392,115 — 0.40 percent
2013-14 — $440,291,510 — 0.20 percent
2014-15 (estimated) — $441,000,00 — 0.16 percent

Board members held long discussions in work sessions leading up to the final pass, including how much to allocate to the marching band and the Cyber Academy technology department.

Jack Fisher, chair of the Budget, Finance and Audit Committee, had initially asked for a 4.5 percent increase because he said he was worried about the financial commitments the district will face in coming years because of retirements. In the end, the 2.8 percent increase was a compromise most members were able to accommodate.

Among the issues affecting the budget is the projected decrease in enrollment over the next few years, continuing the present trend. The total student enrollment projected for the district in the next academic year is 4,690.

Another major factor influencing the budget is the assessed value of properties in the county, with increases slowing considerably since the recession began in 2008 (see sidebar).

The district says it has been able to keep increases down since then through a combination of Federal Stimulus ARRA Funding, salary freezes for teachers in 2001-12 and 2012-13, staff attrition, and debt service reductions.

The final budget adoption date is June 26. The proposed Budget is available on dvsd.schoolwires.net/Page/102.

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