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South Hills

Brentwood school board sets preliminary budget

| Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, 12:42 p.m.
Brentwood School District's Elroy Elementary photographed Wednesday, July 19, 2017.
Brentwood School District's Elroy Elementary photographed Wednesday, July 19, 2017.

A first draft of Brentwood Borough School District's 2018-19 budget is now on display for public viewing.

The board unanimously approved the proposed preliminary $23.62 million budget at its Jan. 22 meeting. Board member Donna Werner was absent. The preliminary budget is roughly $500,000 higher than the current $23.1 million spending plan now in effect.

Because next year's final budget won't be adopted until June when the state's fiscal year ends, it is not yet known if the board will vote to raise property taxes, Superintendent Amy Burch said.

“From now through May, we will collect the updated figures for health insurance, we will wait for the governor's budget to be released, and will continue to discuss the district's options with regards to the completed feasibility study.”

By law, most Pennsylvania school districts had until Jan. 25 to make a proposed 2018-19 version of a preliminary budget available for public inspection. Or, the school board had to adopt a resolution indicating it will not raise the rate of any tax by more than its index, according to state Act. 1. The adjusted 2018-19 index for Brentwood is 3.4 percent. Its current millage rate is 29.5332 mills.

“The board is going to ask the state for exceptions,” Burch said in an email. “At this point it is unknown how much will be granted or if the district will use them. The reason the board has elected to ask for exceptions is to keep all of our options open as we go through the budget process. The board has not committed using any of the exceptions.”

Burch said salaries and benefits in next year's budget account for 67 percent of the proposed preliminary budget. Salaries alone come to $9.67 million, or 41 percent of the budget, she said.

If the district is denied exceptions by the state, then district officials have the option to have a referendum placed on the ballot seeking resident approval for a tax increase above the index.

Suzanne Elliott is a Tribune-Review staff writer. She can be reached at selliott@tribweb.com or 412-871-2346.

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