Frazier holds line on taxes, passes budget
PERRYOPOLIS - Taxes in the Frazier School District will remain the same.
Frazier School Board Wednesday night passed a balanced budget of $11,274,972 with a 51.64 millage rate.
All board members approved the spending plan except John Keffer, who was absent.
Business manager Thomas Shetterly said that property owners pay $51.64 for every $1,000 in assessed value. Property values are still based on the old 1958 Fayette County assessments.
Frazier did not pass its budget before the state-mandated June 30 deadline, anticipating an increase in state funding from the 1 percent named by Gov. Mark Schweiker earlier in the year. When the General Assembly passed the state budget with a 3 percent increase in general education funding, Frazier used the increased funding to balance its budget without a tax increase.
The state will pay Frazier's general fund $142,624, its special education fund $222 and $2,000 for vocational education. Shetterly said that all state funding, including grants, accounts for 68 percent of the district's budget. Taxpayers contribute 16 percent.
Waiting to pass the budget did not affect the district's ability to pay bills explained superintendent Frederick Smeigh. The district could not pay bills without passing a budget, but the district could not pay bills until the board met and voted to pay the bills anyway.
Frazier was the only area school district which did not increase millage.
"We balanced our budget with our state subsidy. Other districts raised taxes. We chose to wait," said John Lowery III, board president.
All other taxes remain the same as 2001-2002. The Act 511 earned income tax remains at 1 percent; Act 679 per capita tax levy, $5; Act 511 per capita tax resolution, $5; and Act 511 occupational privilege tax, $10. Frazier receives $5 from the occupational privilege tax. The Act 511 realty transfer tax levy is continued.
Discount, face and penalty periods for taxes are as follows:
During his report, Smeigh addressed the recent listing of Perry Elementary as an "improvement school" by the U.S. Department of Education. "Perry Elementary students are well above average in all years that are involved. We are the victim of a flawed formula."
The U.S. Department of Education used 1997-1998 as the base year. That year, Perry students averaged 1,430 on the Pennsylvania State System of Assessment (PSSA) reading test. The state average was 1,310, the level required for proficiency. The following year, Perry students averaged 1,380 and in 1999-2000, averaged 1,370, all well above state averages and all above the proficient score, Smeigh reported.
The U.S. Department of Education indicated that no action was required at this time.
Smeigh said that he has been appointed to the state committee on PSSA scoring and application. "I might contribute something to improve the test."
Board member David Simmons shared good news. At the recent school board convention, he attended a computer learning class and won computers, which he will donate to the school. The district will receive five desk-top computers and possibly five lap-top computers.
Most Perryopolis residents are pleased with the new paint that has transformed Frazier High School and Middle School from monochromic brown to three tones of beige with dark red highlights. John's Painting of Youngstown, Ohio, is expected to complete the job early next week, Fred Koller, superintendent of buildings and grounds, reported.
"Some say it makes the whole town look good," he said.
Koller also reported that the new Perry Elementary roof was nearly complete, and work would soon start on Central. Smeigh said that Perry's roof contained less asbestos than anticipated, which has been removed.
In other business, the board: