Loyalsock votes down tax increase

The Loyalsock Township School Board voted down a tax increase that had been planned for the 2019-2020 school year and instead voted to keep the real estate tax rate the same as the current year.

At their meeting Wednesday night, the board did approve by an 8-1 vote to accept the proposed final budget with revenues and expenditures of $23,775,176. Originally a .25 mill increase had been proposed, which would have brought in an additional $200,000 in real estate tax revenue. At that point the district would have experienced a deficit of $275,000. With the amended budget, the district now faces a deficit of $475,000 which, according to M. Daniel Egly, the district’s business manager, will have to be covered with monies from the district’s unassigned fund balance.

Egly also cautioned that the budget is a work in progress and the board will be making recommendations and changes until the end of the school year.

The rationale behind the reversal was that the district had raised the tax millage for several years and the board felt the residents needed a break.

The current tax rates, which remain the same for next year are: 14.67 mills, real estate; 1 percent, realty transfer; 1.65 percent, earned income, 1.15 percent which goes to the district and .50 percent which goes to the township; $5 per individual employed in the township; 1 mill/wholesale gross sales and 1.5 mills/retail, service or rental gross.

“Residents need some relief sometime, and I think this is the time,” said Paul R. Young II, board president.

Voting for the amended budget were: Edward H. Ade, Charles W. Edmonds, David P. Hornberger, Christina L. Kiessling, Robert D. Leidhecker, John B. Raymond, Carolyn R. Strickland and Young. Voting no was Melvin E. Wentzel.

The budget will now be on display at the district service center, 1605 Four Mile Drive, for 30 days. Final approval of the budget will be at the June 19 meeting.

In other business, the board approved a master lease purchase agreement with Apple, Inc. at a cost of $274,393. The purpose of the agreement is to continue the iPad Initiative for students in grades five, 10 and 11. Funds for this purchase will come from the general assigned fund balance for technology.

The board also approved the purchase of technology software/hardware, wireless access points and server from BLaST Unit 17 at a cost of $33,462.70. Funds for this will also come from the general assigned fund balance for technology.

During the meeting the board welcomed new professional staff for the upcoming school year. Appointments included:

• Kristina Kurelja as a temporary professional employee biology teacher at a salary of $46,359.

• M. Kathleen Mann as a temporary professional employee English teacher at a salary of $48,859.

• Sarah Nelson as a professional employee assigned as a speech and language impaired teacher at a salary of $60,061.

• Sarah Smith as a professional employee business, computer and information technology teacher at a salary of $61,928.

• Kaden Stensland as a temporary professional employee mathematics teacher at a salary of $46,359.

The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. June 19 at the board conference room, 1605 Four Mile Drive.

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