AP NEWS

Shade school board approves proposed budget with a tax increase

May 8, 2019

A day after passing a proposed budget, Shade school officials revealed that a 1.3-mill tax increase may be in the offing for school district taxpayers.

The school board passed a $8,842,357 proposed budget during their meeting Monday night. The tax increase would raise the property tax rate to 40.54 mills.

Business manager Stacey Papinchak said Tuesday that the increase is to help pay teacher salaries and health care costs.

“This is to cover our expenses,” she said. “To balance the budget, we need to do that.”

Papinchak added that the increase would raise taxes by $20 for the average household, but she did not know what the average household is currently paying.

Budget documents obtained by the Daily American Tuesday show $3,363,905 for salaries and $2,575,866 for benefits. A copy of the budget can be found online at www.dailyamerican.com.

Officials passed the budget Monday without announcing the new millage rate. When the Daily American tried to ask questions about the budget to school officials at the Monday meeting, the response was that all questions had to be submitted in writing and the answers approved by Superintendent John Krupper.

A reporter called Krupper at the school Tuesday but was told he was unavailable.

Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel for the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, said that before school officials can finalize a budget, they need to allow time for the public to comment. Melewsky added that the proposed budget should have been available to the public at Monday’s meeting.

“The school code requires access before final enactment,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons public access is permitted and required in that 30-day window is so the public can look at what is being proposed and can suggest changes where they feel appropriate.”

Papinchak said 1 mill of taxes generates $54,177.79 for the district.

“We’re looking to raise (taxes by) 1.3 mill, which is what we are allowed to raise it to the index,” she said. “That comes to $70,000 that, that 1.3 mill will give us.”

In January school board members voted not to raise the property tax rate above the district’s adjusted Act 1 index of 3.3 percent. Act 1 is a state law designed to protect taxpayers from exorbitant increases.

Shade school officials plan to finalize the budget at the June 3 meeting.