Apollo-Ridge leaves door open for tax increase
Any tax increase the Apollo-Ridge School District might levy to help cover the $22.9 million officials expect to spend next school year would not exceed the state's 3.1 percent limit.
The proposed spending plan, which is subject to change before June 30, represents a 5.6 percent increase over the current year's $21.7 million budget.
The majority of the additional $1.2 million, Business Manager Jennie Ivory said, stems from increasing costs related to salaries and benefits.
While the proposed budget projects expenses to exceed revenues by at least $1 million, Ivory said it's “too early in the process” to say whether the district will raise taxes.
“It's a moving target,” she said. “It's difficult to say right now what needs to happen. The school board and the district will have a better idea after the May 19 budget workshop.”
If officials choose not to raise taxes and can't trim the 2014-15 budget by the end of June, the district would be faced with a $1.7 million deficit.
Should the district raise taxes by the 3.1 percent maximum set by the state, it would generate an additional $200,000. That would leave the district with $1.5 million left to cut for a balanced budget.
There have been no discussions, Ivory said, about cutting particular services or programs.
“It's typical to have loose figures at this time of the year that you have to work with,” Ivory said. “The state requires that you have a preliminary budget in May, and obviously nothing is final until the end of June.”
The highest that tax rates could increase in the district's Armstrong County communities is 2.1 mills, from 60.8 to 62.9.
In Young Township, the district's only Indiana County municipality, a maximum increase would raise the millage rate from 167.7 to 171.1, or 3.4 mills.
The difference between county figures is the result of a state formula that multi-county districts must use to equalize the tax rates. The formula, which is calculated based on various economic factors, would lead to a decrease of 2.5 mills in Young Township if the district doesn't raise taxes, according to Ivory.
The costs related to salaries and benefits that are predicted to rise most dramatically are health insurance and retirement rate changes.
The district expects to see a 13 percent, or $295,000, jump in health insurance and retirement rates will likely increase by about $485,000.
If officials manage to effectively balance the budget with room left over next month, the district could add a physics teacher, Vice President Forrest Schultz said.
“That's something we wouldn't advertise until after the final budget is approved and we know we can do it,” he said. “It's based on a district need, though.”
Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Kensington residents rally in support of 82-year-old robbery victim
- Saxonburg residents surprised by zoning proposal
- Remains of Korean War soldier from Apollo identified
- Brackenridge man to stand trial in slashing
- Plum landslide to be fixed after year
- Police identify Harmar man as victim in Washington Township crash
- Union to work while ATI talks continue
- Vandergrift man accused of sexual assault
- ATI contract expires today; union reports no progress in negotiations
- Leechburg residents begin holiday lights campaign
- 1 dead in Washington Township crash