Tax hike comes with Muncy school’s budget

MUNCY – Muncy School Board adopted an $18.9 million 2019-20 budget Monday night that includes a tax increase.

The budget brings a 0.74 millage increase to the local real estate tax, said David Edkin, district business manager.

It will add $74 in taxes to a house valued at $100,000.

The difference is 15.5 mills to 16.72 mills, he said.

The 1.25 percent earned income tax, 5 percent real estate transfer and $5 local services tax remains the same, he said.

The expenditures were $18.9 million and revenues were $18.5 million, which meant the budget had a $352,383 shortfall, Edkin said.

Dr. Craig Skaluba, district superintendent, said the tax increase is due to cost increases in health care insurance, special education and the state Public School Employees Retirement System.

Increases in charter and cyber school costs also impact the tax structure.

“I had to add $60,000 for charter school expense,” Edkin said. Taxpayers may not realize but the charter school system is costing them.

Scott McLean, board president, noted a recent Sun-Gazette story about these cost burdens on area school districts and encouraged people to read the article to understand more.

Additionally, the district had a $136,000 increase in retirements, as noted. It is actually about half of that amount because the district is reimbursed, Edkin said.

The district had to budget $139,000 in additional costs for special education and is hopeful it receives a grant but budgeted $60,000 for a school resource officer, a type of police officer in the buildings available.

Another cost derivative is the $170,000 for school debt service, Edkin said.

Overall, the district’s budget is status quo other than the increase of less than 1 percent, he noted.

Staffing will remain the same as will programming, Skaluba said.

The district also voted in favor of authorizing issuance of additional general obligation bonds in the maximum amount of $10.1 million to complete capital projects.

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