South schools still looking at budget deficit

The South Williamsport Area School District might have to raise real estate taxes to meet its budget for the 2013-14 school year.

The latest update on the working budget, presented by Superintendent Dr. Mark Stamm at Monday night’s school board meeting, shows the district with a $264,463 deficit to make up after including a prospective 0.6-mill tax hike.

The possible increase would raise an additional $213,632 in revenue and be a 4.5 percent rise over the 2012-13 tax rate of 13.3 mills.

“We’re continuing to work from here on this,” Stamm said.

At the last update in February, the working budget showed a $746,266 deficit. Now, the district anticipates about $400,000 more in revenue from local and state sources over the previous projections, not including monies brought in from any raise in taxes.

The budget also anticipates making savings in energy costs and staffing next year, while adding an assistant principal.

The district’s overall financial picture is rosier, according to the most recent audit.

John Compton, a certified public accountant with Parente Beard, 400 Market St., presented results of his firm’s audit of the district’s 2010-11 finances.

“Though total revenues were just under what was anticipated, spending was significantly under what you expected,” Compton said. “You had very few audit adjustments, and that reflects well on your internal staff practices.”

According to the audit, the district spent $83,410 per school day, down from $87,231 in 2010-11.

The district is carrying about a four to one ratio of debt to general fund equity, on average.

“That’s not bad,” Compton said. “You’re not overleveraged by any stretch.”

Compton also said that federal funding of district programs – which require the district to do an audit – were down in 2010-11 to $829,154, from $2.15 million in 2009-10.

The board next meets at 7 p.m. May 6, at 515 W. Central Ave.