BASD adopts budget with 1.49 percent tax increase

Adds eight new positions

By CHRIS MORELLI

cmorelli@lockhaven.com

BELLEFONTE — The Bellefonte Area School District has a budget.

At Tuesday night’s regular meeting, the school board adopted the 2019-20 budget, which includes a 1.5 percent tax increase, down from 2.8 percent, which was part of the original proposed budget.

“I’m very happy to announce that it’s down to 1.5 percent from 2.8,” said Ken Bean, director of fiscal affairs for the district. “The way we got from 2.8 to 1.5 is the assessed value growth in the district, (which) went from .84 percent to 1.49 percent in about a month, month and a half. That usually doesn’t happen at this stage.”

Here’s how the budget breaks down: Revenues are $50,185,000; Expenditures are $53,290,000; fund balance used is $3,105,000; ending fund balance is $3,729,198.

According to Bean, the budget includes an increase in salaries of 3.5 percent, eight new positions, PSERS rate increase from 33.43 percent to 34.29 percent, charter school tuition of $2,750,000, a contracted social worker at $65,000, a basic ed subsidy increase of $51,790, a special ed subsidy increase of $25,000, reduction of federal monies of $46,000, a food service contribution of $75,000 and the aforementioned real estate assessed value growth of 1.49 percent. The tax millage rate is 50.2131.

“We’ve been doing one percent the last three to four years, so this is one of our higher (tax increases) and it’s only 1.5 percent, so I’m pleased with that for the taxpayers of the district. We are still providing excellent educational opportunities for our students,” Bean said.

The new positions in the district are: Chinese teacher ($53,010), two kindergarten teachers ($48,650 each), learning support teacher ($48,650), emotional support aide ($17,000), autistic classroom aide ($17,000), public relations ($50,000), clerical – buildings and grounds ($13,845), clerical – athletics ($13,845).

According to Bean, state funding continues to drop. He showed a graph that showed the decline in financial support coming from the Commonwealth.

He explained that in 2007, the state was funding well over half of the base education (56 percent). Now, he said, they’re projecting 43.5 percent in the coming fiscal year.

“In other words, the subsidy that they give us is less than half of what we’re spending,” Bean said.

The board voted unanimously to approve the budget.

“I want to thank Ken for all the hard work,” said board member Rodney Musser. “I think this is an appropriate budget.”

In other business, the board appproved:

∫ The retirements of Michelle Krape (second grade teacher), Steven Bolich (fourth grade teacher), Loudon Kyle (van driver), MaryAnn Hamilton (van driver), James Shaffer (lead custodian), Patsy Roan (cafteria cashier) and Jeanette Sidisky (cafteteria cashier).

∫ Changing the district’s public relations position from part-time to full-time. PR specialist Brit Milazzo gave a presentation to the board about her role in the district. The salary of the full-time position is listed at $50,000.

∫ The creation of the position of custodial supervisor (job description approved Jan. 8, 2019). This position replaces the position of lead custodian.

∫ The creation of the position of maintenance supervisor job description approved Jan. 8, 2019). This position replaces the position of head of maintenance.

∫ A stipend of $10,000 for Aaron Barto in addition to his current salary for the additional duties added during the 2018-19 school year as school safety and security coordinator.

∫ The memorandum of understanding between BASD and the BASD administrators included within the Act 93 coverage to waive the 10-year tenure for Paul DeMille.

∫ The 2019-20 athletic fund budget in the amount of $937,000.

∫ The 2018-19 food service budget in the amount of $1,660,000.

∫ A four-year lease with VFG Leasing for computer equipment (Chromebooks), with a monthly payment of $3,687.34. The total cost for the four-year contract is $156,250.

∫ A contract between the Devereaux Foundation and the Bellefonte Area School District for the scheduled services for a student in need from June 29, 2019 through Sept. 3, 2019.

∫ Homebound instruction for one Bellefonte Area Middle School student.

∫ Sending superintendent Dr. Michelle Saylor to the AASA (the School Superintendents’ Association) Women In Leadership Institute learning collaborative in Alexandria, Va., from Oct. 21-22, 2019. The approximate cost is $1,400 (registration $800, lodging $400 and mileage $200). The cost is budgeted within the superintendent’s contract and is per the superintendent’s contract.

The school board is scheduled to meet again at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25 at the Bellefonte Area Middle School.

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