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North Hills

North Hills OKs budget that funds school police force, hikes taxes 1.4 percent

Tony LaRussa
| Friday, June 8, 2018, 1:42 p.m.
The North Hills School District budget for the 2018-19 school year includes money to replace the roof at the high school as well as funding to create an in-house police force and hire more than a dozen teachers.
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The North Hills School District budget for the 2018-19 school year includes money to replace the roof at the high school as well as funding to create an in-house police force and hire more than a dozen teachers.

The North Hills School Board has approved a final budget for the 2018-19 school year that sets aside money to hire more teachers and boost building safety by funding an in-house police force.

The more than $84.16 million budget is balanced, in part, with a 1.4 percent hike in the property tax rate, which will increase from 18 mills to 18.25 mills to generate an estimated $650,000 in additional revenue.

The tax increase will add $33.88 a year to the tax bill for a $135,500 property, which is the median-assessed value in the district. This is the fourth consecutive increase in the district's property tax rate.

The board approved the budget by an 8-1 vote at the June 7 business meeting. School Director Kathy Reid cast the dissenting vote.

Next year's budget anticipates nearly $80.39 million in revenue. It will be balanced with a nearly $1.28 million transfer from a special fund set up to address state-mandated increases in the district's contribution to the state pensions fund. Another $2.5 million transfer will be made from the general fund balance into the capital projects fund to cover the replacement of the roof at the high school.

“We continue to work diligently to manage our annual operating expenses and responsibly plan for the future in order to minimize the impact on our local taxpayers,” said David Hall, the district's director of finance and operations.

Next year's spending plan represents a 2.5 percent increase in total expenditures over this year, with the majority of the additional money — 2.3 percent — earmarked to pay for more than a dozen new positions: five elementary classroom teachers, one middle school and three elementary computer science/math teachers, four school police officers, a middle school student assistance specialist, three elementary special education positions and increased coverage for German classes.

Next year's budget also allocates money for the following projects:

• $304,493 for new curriculum materials, including items for elementary math, secondary family and consumer science and secondary world languages.

• $198,192 to pay for various enhancements to the district's safety and security programs.

• $165,000 for installation of additional security cameras and replacement of older units.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-772-6368 .

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