WELLSBORO - A proposed preliminary 2012-13 budget of $22.3 million was passed by the school board unanimously Tuesday, but it will require a real estate tax increase in its current form.
The budget, which contains $22.3 million in expenditures and $22.1 million in revenues, is posted on the district's website.
To pay for the shortfall of nearly $300,000, a tax increase of 0.4 mill, or 2.19 percent, for Tioga County taxpayers will be needed. The increase will raise the rate to 16.8 mills.
However, Lycoming County taxpayers will see a 0.7 mill, or 5.05 percent, drop in their property taxes.
Last year, the district had a $1.3 million shortfall and went to a voter referendum to try to increase taxes above the Act 1 increase. That effort was defeated by a margin of 3-1.
That forced the district to cut teachers and raise the tax rate to 16.4 mills for Tioga County and 14.3 mills for Lycoming County.
The state formula used to establish tax rates accounts for the difference in the two counties.
The budget still could change depending on what Gov. Tom Corbett announces in his February budget address.
"The budget is a work in progress," Business Manager Marcia Newcomb said at the meeting.
The district's fund balance contains $1.76 million.
The board also heard from resident and former board member Al Bieber, who told them he is concerned about sending a board member to an out-of-state conference. The board approved board member Atalana Shabloski to attend a Federal Relations Network Conference in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 5-7. Bieber said he thinks "it is money foolishly spent, because the information is available online."
Though Intermediate Unit 17 covers the registration fee and Shabloski will pay for her own mileage and housing, Bieber contended the funds come from the taxpayers "in the end."
"I have always been an opponent to grants. This is not manna from heaven, not Obama dollars. It is everyone's money," he said.
In other business, the board from Superintendent Chris Morral that the district has received a grant to place new signage in playgrounds and outdoor areas to replace the old "tobacco-free zone" signs and that the district is participating in a shoe drive to benefit the Tioga County Homeless Initiative.
In other business, the board:
* Accepted the retirement of long-time school nurse Ann Cole, effective the end of the month. Cole has been a nurse in the district for 19 years, Morral said, adding she has been "a tremendous asset to the district."
* Approved the purchase from Highland Chocolates pre-vocational services for 11th- and 12th-grade special education students at $3.37 per quarter hour, effective Nov. 15, 2011.
* Saw a special presentation by Dr. Ben Largey, school psychologist and director of online programs, on the Wellsboro Online Academy, the district's latest response to the increase in students attending cyber charter schools.
* Approved Tanya Deats as high school basketball cheerleading adviser for the rest of the school year at $1,092.