AP NEWS

Rockwood school not raising taxes

May 23, 2019

Taxpayers in the Rockwood Area School District will avoid a levy hike for another school year.

During a meeting Tuesday night, the school board passed a tentative $12.3 million budget that keeps the tax rate at 21.89 mills for the 2019-20 school year. The spending plan has a projected $5.3 million fund balance at the end of the current school year.

Superintendent Mark Bower said the fund balance increased by about $700,000 during the last year.

Of that money, about $300,000 will be shifted to help pay for multiple one-time expenditures, including roof replacement, flooring and the purchase of a small dump truck, according to the superintendent.

Bower said that although he is happy not to raise the tax rate, he is unsure how long that trend can continue.

“At some point down the road I’m sure we’ll have to look at some responsible tax increase,” he said.

“I’d say we are a few years down the road from that.”

Business manager Brian Coughenour said that although projected revenues are not as high as expenditures, the budget is balanced.

Neither Coughenour nor Bower had revenue figures when contacted Wednesday after school hours.

Coughenour said that the budget has $500,000 worth of unassigned expenditures.

“The revenues definitely are not as high because we have monetary reserves set aside that we won’t be spending on anything,” he said. “It’s not set aside for any purpose.”

He said he is happy that the district hasn’t raised taxes during the past 10 years. A Daily American article from the time indicates that the last time the rate was increased was for the 2009-10 school year. The rate was lowered to its current level for the 2010-11 school year.

“We’ve had a financial plan we’ve been using for the past several years,” Coughenour said, “and it seems to be working.”

The board is set to finalize the budget at its June meeting.

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