Fox Chapel Area taxes climb slightly
Fox Chapel Area School District taxes will climb slightly for the 2018-19 school year.
The school board this month approved its $103 million budget, establishing a property tax rate of 19.57 mills. It is an increase of .23 mills, or 1.2 percent.
The owner of a home assessed at $200,000 will pay $3,915, up from $3,868 this year, a difference of $47.
One mill brings in about $3.4 million.
The increase is expected to generate an extra $808,000 to help district operations, said Bonnie Berzonski, district coordinator of communications.
Total district expenses in 2018-19 are expected to be about $98.7 million, about $1.9 million more than this year.
Berzonski said highlights of the final budget include $654,351 in new computer equipment and $655,000 for technology, security cameras and playground units at the new Kerr Elementary School. Health care costs will increase slightly, by about 1.9 percent, but there will be no rate hikes for dental or vision.
The district will pay $15 million to the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS).
“It is estimated that under the current rate structure proposed for funding PSERS, Fox Chapel Area will pay out nearly $55 million over the next five years,” Berzonski said.
This has necessitated the district to prepare for budget shortfalls, she said.
The district has committed fund balance reserves of $9.5 million to cover the increases and used $500,000 in 2017-2018 to bridge the funding gap.
“The district will continue to use committed fund balance reserves until the tax rates can keep pace and fund these costs,” she said.
Berzonski said salaries overall will decrease 1.3 percent because of the early retirement incentive offered to the Fox Chapel Educators Association.
Ten teachers will be retiring July 1, and only three will be replaced.
Higher enrollment at Hartwood Elementary will require one new position.
In total, 54 teachers accepted the early retirement incentive and will leave over the next two years. They will not all be replaced.