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Quaker Valley property owners could face tax increase

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Vote set next month

Quaker Valley school board members are expected to vote on a final budget at 7 p.m. May 20 in the LGI room at Edgeworth Elementary School, 200 Meadow Lane, Edgeworth.

The budget is available for public review on the district's website at www.qvsd.org, at the district's administrative offices, 100 Leetsdale Industrial Drive, Leetsdale, and at the Sewickley Public Library, 500 Thorn St., Sewickley.

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Under a proposed final budget, Quaker Valley property owners' taxes could rise for the 2014-15 school year.

School board members last week approved the roughly $43.5 million budget that includes an increase in the property tax rate from 16.93 mills to 17.2 mills.

An owner of a home valued at $258,207, which is the median in the 11 communities that make up the district, would pay about $70 more next year if the board approve the millage increase next month in a final vote.

School leaders say the budget includes a 3.29 percent spending increase, and attribute half of that to mandated increases in the district's Pennsylvania State Employee Retirement System (PSERS) contribution.

“Unfortunately, our biggest budgetary increase – the mandated PSERS contribution – is beyond our control,” Superintendent Joseph Clapper said.

Administrators say the district's total retirement fund contribution is more than $822,000. Board members used $200,000 from a PSERS stabilization fund they created.

“We are extremely fortunate that our school board has been thoughtful and strategic in planning for the PSERS crisis,” Clapper said.

“The benefits of this long-term planning will continue to be evident as the district's pension costs are projected to climb by more than $2 million over the next five years.”

Under Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed state budget, Quaker Valley could receive more than $2 million — or 12 percent of the district's budget, spokeswoman Tina Vojtko said.

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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