The Abington School Board last night approved the district’s 2012-13 budget; there will be no tax increase.
The board unanimously passed the $133.47 million budget; the budget is up 4.55 percent over the 2011-12 installment, but the millage rate stays at 27.80.
That means a home assessed at $141,000 will pay $3,920 annually. And, if you register with the state as a homestead, you’ll see a flat reduction of your tax bill to the tune of $205 — regardless of the assessed value of your home.
“There have been no cuts in programming, no pay-to-play, no decreases in any way — frankly, there have been some increases — all while having a 0 percent increase for the third year in a row,” Abington School District Superintendent Amy Sichel said. “So we think we accomplished the [school board’s] goals and we are very comfortable in moving forward to July 1.”
The school district could have raised taxes by 1.7 percent, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Act 1 index.
In the last five years, school district tax increases have been under 2 percent, according to Abington School District Business Administrator Chris Lionetti.
There were slight adjustments to the state and federal contribution figures in the final budget compared to the proposed final budget.
And the biggest budget item increase year-to-year is the amount the school district will pay into the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS). That figure is up 24 percent over the 2011-12 budget (or $3.18 million) to about $16.52 million. The state pays for about half of the district’s mandated benefits, which explains the increase in state funding — it’s up about $1.49 million over last year’s budget (bringing the total to about $17.81 million), Lionetti explained.
About $10.17 million in allocated fund balance will cover the expense-revenue gap; that figure is down slightly compared to the proposed final budget’s figure of $10.27 million. However, the $10.17 million figure is $4.58 million more than the allocated fund balance for the 2011-12 budget.
Of note: The district gets about 70 percent of its $133.47 million budget (about $94 million) from local real estate taxes; salaries are up just 2.58 percent, or up $1.89 million, to $75.23 million; mandated benefits are up a relatively small $600,000 over last year to $12.98 million; and school board members Barry Stupine and Susan Arnhold were not at the meeting.