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Preliminary Hampton School District budget calls for almost 2 percent tax hike

| Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Hampton Township School District officials approved a preliminary spending plan for the 2014-15 school year that includes a 1.87 percent tax increase to balance the budget.

Hampton officials plan to balance the $1 million gap in the $45.8 million budget by using $573,000 of the Public School Employees' Retirement System, or PSERS, stabilization fund created to help offset Hampton's annual contribution rate through the 2025-26 school year and a 0.33 mill increase.

The millage increase would raise the tax rate from 17.59 mills to 17.92 mills.

For a home assessed at $160,500, the median residential assessed value in Hampton, the proposed tax rate would equal $2,876.16 — a $53 increase.

The majority of the budget increase, about $1.15 million or 61 percent, is due to the increased contribution rate to PSERS. The district's required contribution to the PSERS fund will increase from 16.93 to 21.4 percent of wages for 2014-15.

In addition to PSERS, the budget reflects increases to salaries, health insurance costs and the A.W. Beattie Career Center contribution.

“This can change in the next month and I assume there are a couple of places that can change to the better of the budget,” said board member Gail Litwiler. “It's my hope we can get the (tax) increase down.”

The approved preliminary budget already included a decrease of $82,700 to expenses — largely due to salary reductions from retirements — from the proposed budget presented early in April. However, there also was a $99,000 decrease in revenues.

The majority of the decrease is the result of taxpayer-initiated reassessment appeals.

Superintendent John Hoover said there still are some unknown numbers in the budget, such as the funds coming from the state.

The state budget has not yet been approved.

“On the other hand, if the state budget is worse, we'll have to account for that too,” Hoover said.

Hampton school board members are required to approve a final budget by June 30.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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