Wellsboro schools still expect tax hike

WELLSBORO – The school district’s $23.9 million 2014-15 proposed final budget likely will be adopted with no changes next month, Superintendent Chris Morral said Wednesday.

The budget, which had a $300,000 shortfall, will require a tax increase to the state index of 2.7 percent for the district but no exceptions, Morral said, which has not changed from last month.

For Tioga County district residents, real estate taxes will increase from this year’s 17 mills to 17.49 mills next year, but for Lycoming County residents, taxes will decrease from 13.79 mills this year to 13.62 mills next year.

The tax increase will cover increases in health care costs and retirement contribution costs as well as increases in operating expenses and negotiated staff salary increases.

“We started the process with a deficit. We have started two fund balance accounts, one for (retirements and pensions) and one for health care and we plan to take $80,000 out of each reserve to balance the budget,” he said.

The budget will be approved June 10.

The board also recognized retiring fourth-grade teacher Bonnie Stanley after more than 27 years of service.

“She exemplifies what our district looks for as an excellent teacher. She handled herself well with students and worked well with colleagues and was overall an excellent role model for younger teachers,” Morral said.