JACKSON TWP — Seneca Valley School Board members unanimously approved the district's final budget at Monday's meeting, which included a milder tax increase than originally planned.
The board approved the $140,354,419 budget that includes a 1.89 mill increase in the property tax rate as opposed to a 2.89-mill increase proposed in its May preliminary budget.
“We have a budget that I believe is prudent and frugal, but by the same token respects the standard of education that each one of our students deserves,” said Jim Nickel, school board president.
One mill is the equivalent of $1 tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value.
The median homestead in the district is valued at $234,995, and its owners will see an increase of $47 on their property tax, according to figures included with the budget.
Lynn Burtner, the district's business manager, said some of the district's revenue, like property tax and favorable outcomes in their predictions regarding state-funding income, worked in the district's favor.
“We were able to raise some of our revenue expectations, and reduce some of our expenses,” Burtner said.
Burtner said the decrease in expenses did not involve the removal of any positions at the district.
Eric DiTullio, vice president, said the board and administration always strive to do better, and that's what they had set out to do when the initial figures were compiled for the preliminary budget.
“No one on this board likes to raise taxes, but it's the vehicle that we have,” DiTullio said. “This board, this administration is always looking to do a little bit better.”
Nickel said the school board needs to continue to seek the right level of continuing to support the system that has developed at the district without becoming too big a burden to the taxpayers.
He said if someone asks where the money goes, he can't just point at one thing, because the money gets disbursed like a blanket effect around the entire district.
“I can point to the culture that is Seneca Valley School District,” Nickel said.