Seneca board OKs 4.25-mill hike
The Seneca Valley School Board has narrowly approved a 4.25-mill property tax increase to help finance a $75.1 million budget for 2004-05.
The hike raises taxes to 117.59 mills. For the owner of a $150,000 home, it will mean a $1,976 yearly payment -- $72 more than this year.
Bill Adams, of Zelienople, told board members Monday night that he is unhappy, because they had an opportunity to cut more from the budget. Last year's budget totaled $71.3 million.
"The district is taking way more money than is necessary and is only providing a mediocre result," Adams said.
The board in the Butler County district voted 5-4 last night to approve the tax hike, with Anthony Storti, Ken Brennan, Eileen Conners and Paul Adametz opposed.
Various options discussed this year had included tax hikes as high as 6 mills.
The approved budget saves the jobs of 2.5 elementary replacement teaching positions, a school police officer and nine aides. It also adds two new elementary assistant principals.
But some cuts also were adopted. The budget cut 1.5 elementary special education teachers and $50,000 worth of academic software.
Seneca Valley senior David Manes said approving anything less than the budget with the 6-mill increase was "cheating the student body."
This is the third straight year of tax increases in Seneca Valley. Just two years ago, the tax rate was 99.72 mills.
The vote closes the district's most contentious budget season ever, according to long-time board member William Paul. More than 100 taxpayers, employees and students spoke out during the process.