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Brentwood Borough School District dealing with hefty deficit

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 7:09 p.m.

A bare-bones budget for the 2013-14 school year still leaves the Brentwood Borough School District with a $1.8 million deficit in the annual spending plan.

School board members at their voting meeting on Monday are expected to approve the district's $20,855,291 million spending plan, which uses $1.8 million from the district's reserve to balance the budget.

“This is as bare bones as I think that we can possibly go at this time,” business manager Jennifer Pesanka told school board members at their agenda setting meeting on Monday.

The budget proposal includes a decrease in the property-tax rate from 2012-13 — going from 28.27 to 24.8044 mills. This is to make up for the increase in property values in Brentwood resulting from the countywide court-ordered reassessments.

A “revenue-neutral” millage, or tax rate that would have the district not collecting any more than it did in the 2012-13 school year, would range from 23.7845 to 23.8612, depending on how assessment appeals are settled.

Increasing real estate taxes to the state-allowed index rate of 2.4 percent for Brentwood schools would bump the millage rate to 24.4338, Pesanka said.

The district was granted an “exception” to raise the millage above the state index by 0.3706 of a mill, or receiving no more than $141,164, to help offset Pennsylvania School Employees' Retirement System contribution increases. That allows for the tax increase to 24.8044 mills, Pesanka said.

An audit ending June 30, 2012, showed the district has a reserve of $6,627,388, Pesanka said. Of that, Pesanka said, she estimates, the district will use about $1.25 million to balance the 2012-13 school year budget at the end of the year.

Lunch rates

School board members are set to vote on Monday on a 10-cent increase to most breakfast and lunch prices for the 2013-14 school year.

That would set rates for elementary student lunches at $2.05; middle/high school lunches at $2.30; and adult lunches at $3.30. All student breakfasts would cost $1.35; and milk would remain at 50 cents.

The rate increases are due to a state mandate to bring the amount charged up to the reimbursement for free lunches, district officials said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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