MANSFIELD - The Southern Tioga School Board unanimously approved a $27 million 2012-13 budget Monday, complete with a 6.3 percent tax increase.
The increase brings millage in Lycoming County to 14.6 mills and 15.1 mills for Tioga County, effective July 1.
The earned income tax will be 1.2 percent, effective for the tax year beginning Jan. 1, and a 0.5 percent real estate transfer tax on all real estate transactions will be effective July 1.
The board balanced its budget with a $20,000 surplus with a combination of tax increases retirements and attrition, according to district Business Manager Laura Perry.
The district also shuffled around teachers and staff to make up for the losses, accepting three more staff resignations Monday.
They were Barbara Stager, math teacher at North Penn High School; Lauren Novak, enrichment coach for the Mansfield schools; and Carolyn Easton, Blossburg-Liberty schools nurse.
All three resignations were effective as of last Wednesday.
The budget was passed despite a request from Sullivan Township resident John Ritter that they "vote no on this budget, take two weeks, carve some things out and come back with a smaller tax increase for the taxpayers of the district."
He called the tax increase "ridiculous" and noted that it would put a hardship on those on a fixed income and lower-income taxpayers.
"We are in a very tough economic time and to pass this on the taxpayers is a failure on the part of the board," Ritter said.
Board member Dan Berguson reminded Ritter that the board had made some very difficult program and staff cuts, with music and the arts taking a hit last year and more cuts this year, including at the administrative level, to keep the increase as low as possible without sacrificing education.
"We had to start working this budget back in December, so it is not something we haven't talked about and considered. We are trying to do a balancing act," Berguson added.
Board member Kyle Lefelhoc said with a deficit coming in the 2013-14 budget, "taking it on the chin this year gives us a little extra to maybe have a zero increase or a rollback next year."
In other business, the board:
Elected Ivan Erway to replace Barb Shull as board president, and Stephen Hall to replace Erway as vice president.
Heard Phase One of a two-phase report on a districtwide feasibility study from Crabtree, Rohrbagh and Associates Architects, of Mechanicsburg, on the demographics, current and projected enrollment and building sizes and conditions. Phase Two covering recommendations will be presented at the regular meeting July 9 meeting. There will be no work session in July.
Authorized the administration to solicit a proposal through the Keystone Purchasing Network and The Gordian Group for the repair of the exterior doors at Mansfield High School.