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Franklin Regional School District finances struggled in 2012

| Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, 9:59 p.m.

Tough financial times continued this year for Franklin Regional School District.

District officials considered axing the full-day kindergarten program in the face of a nearly $2 million deficit earlier this year.

The district raised the property tax rate for the 10th consecutive year, which made it the only district in Allegheny or Westmoreland County to raise taxes for that many continuous years.

Like others across the state, the district is dealing with a burgeoning mandated pension plan contribution. In the 2012-13 school year, the district is required to pay about $8 million — part of which will be reimbursed by the state — into the plan. That was nearly double the previous year's contribution.

School board members have said that a time will come when officials will have to seriously consider program cuts. Through tax increases, loan restructuring and retirements, district officials are trying to avoid eliminating any programs.

In 2012-13, the district received consent from the state to raise the tax rate by as much as 5.19 mills. Instead, officials increased the rate by 1 mill to 87.68 mills. The increase amounted to a $36 annual increase for the owner of a home with a market value of $150,000, the average in the district. That tax bill will now be $3,094 annually. Ten years ago, that tax bill would have been $2,336.

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