The 2019-20 Butler Area School District budget proposed by district administrators does not include any teacher furloughs, but it does include a tax increase to the maximum allowed amount under the state index.
Superintendent Dr. Brian White said Monday that this proposed 3 percent increase in billing- or just over 3 mill increase- is necessary to make a number of investments in students today and in the future of the district.
“There’s clearly a facilities needs in this district long-term. It’s not going away. We need to plan for that,” White said Monday.
The proposed $104 million budget passed by a vote of 7-1 during a school board meeting Monday night. Board member Bill Halle voted in opposition and board member Al Vavro was not present.
The proposed increase would generate about $1.2 million, of which $650,000 would be placed in the district’s fund for future capital project needs; $150,000 would be maintained as a budgetary reserve for unforeseen emergencies; and $400,000 would be used for professional services -including pilot therapeutic classrooms in five district special education classrooms.
During a meeting in April, White revealed the district is currently in debt by more than $131 million. More than $45 million of that is interest.
“We have more needs than we have resources,” White said Monday.
This current proposed tax hike works out to an approximate $40 to $50 increase for the average property owner with $20,000 to $25,000 in assessed property value.
School board members will vote to approve a final budget in June. Before taking a final vote, the tax rate could be revised lower, but not increased.