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Seneca Valley School Board opts to raise property taxes

| Saturday, June 21, 2014, 5:12 p.m.

A 3.7-mill property tax hike is in store for the residents of Seneca Valley School District in the 2014-15 budget unanimously passed by the school board.

The final budget, which passed at Monday's board meeting, includes a property tax increase that will bring the millage rate to 116.45. One mill generates $536,540 for the district.

Homes in the district have a median value of $175,500, meaning the tax increase will cost the average homeowner $88 a year.

The district's total revenue is about $107.2 million, and total expenditures are about $108.7 million.

Spending is up more than 7 percent from current budget expenditures of $101 million. The district will use $1 million from its savings to pay for textbooks and to provide $500,000 toward the district's 2014-15 Public School Employees' Retirement System contribution, which increases from 16.9 percent of payroll to 21.4 percent of payroll in 2014-15.

The district will pay transportation costs for students attending the Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School opening in the fall in Cranberry.

The board voted to eliminate two half-time positions: one in the library program at Evans City Middle School and one in the performing arts program.

The library cut resulted from the implementation of an elementary world language program. District spokeswoman Linda Andreassi said next year the library portion of students' class rotation will be eliminated and the foreign language component will be added.

Students will be given the option to take French, Spanish or German. Latin will be added as an after-school club for those interested, Andreassi said.

The performing arts position was eliminated because of a substantial decline in course enrollments in the performing arts program.

“Sadly, there are program curtailments, associated staff reductions and larger class sizes and reductions in many areas that reflect the financial reality, but it's not just us,” said school director Robert Hill.

“It's every district in the Commonwealth.”

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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