The Abington School Board unanimously approved the district’s 2011-2012 proposed final budget Tuesday night, and as it stands, there is no millage increase.
The $127.75 million proposed final budget is down about $2.41 million, or about 1.9 percent, compared to the 2010-2011 actual budget. And should the final budget pass as-is next month, the millage rate will stay at 27.80—meaning a homeowner with a house assessed at $150,000 will pay $4,170 annually.
According to the resolution, both the real estate transfer tax and the earned income tax will be 0.5 percent each.
The school board also passed a resolution authorizing the administration to advertise the district’s intention to adopt the final budget at the June 28 meeting; the proposed final budget will be up for public inspection for 30 days.
Abington School District Business Manager Chris Lionetti said Tuesday that significant decreases in state funding ($2.2 million, or about 12 percent) negatively affected the budget process. However, the loss was almost offset when teacher members of the Abington Education Association/PSEA, members of the Abington Supervisors and Administrators Association, and the Abington School Service Personnel Association/AFSCME facility and maintenance staff ratified extensions of their existing agreements—which included a salary freeze.
According to Abington School District Superintendent Amy Sichel, the freeze, to which 83 percent of the district’s employees have agreed as of Tuesday, will save the district about $2 million.
Central staff members, including Sichel, will also have their salaries frozen for the 2011-12 school year; Sichel said earlier this month that all of the programs that were offered for the 2010-2011 school year will be available for the 2011-12 school year, and added that there will be no layoffs in the district.
School board member Barry Stupine said that over the past four years, the school district has seen an average tax increase of about 0.5 percent each year—he called it “nothing short of remarkable.”
“Here’s how I see this,” Stupine said. “Despite a cut of 12 percent from the state [in funding], which is over $2 million, reassessments adversely affecting us by about $400,000, [and the] cutting of federal funds by 30 percent, we’re presenting a balanced budget with no tax increase.”
Talking about the millage increases over the past four years, Abington School Board President Raymond McGarry said, “I’m certain it’s the lowest in the area, if not the state.”
Down from last year’s actual budget, this year’s proposed final budget is also down from the proposed preliminary budget, which passed in January. Click here for that story. The proposed preliminary budget was $131.79 million, and called for a 1.4 percent millage increase.