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South Butler School District property taxes may increase 1.8 precent
By Rossilynne Skena, VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH

If the district's $32.3 million preliminary budget for next school year passes as is, property taxes would increase by about 1.8 percent.
Business Manager Debbie Brandstetter will present the budget Wednesday. The district faces a $1.4 million cut in state funding for next school year.
The positions of three teachers who are leaving will not be filled.
District spokesman Jason Davidek said there has been no discussion of furloughs to date, but they haven't been ruled out.
Every mill of the real estate tax generates about $160,550. A 1.6-mill increase will generate about $245,000 for the district, Brandstetter said.
In total, the district will take in about $14 million in real estate tax next school year -- about $930,000 more than this school year.
That includes money collected from bringing Victory Road Business Park, a Keystone Opportunity Zone property that had been under tax exemption, onto the the tax rolls.
"This school district is in different financial order than many school districts around us," school board President Nelda Burd said. She commended administrators for looking at ways to cut costs.
Additional revenue of about $500,000 could come from a roof repair settlement. Officials will know the fate of that money after a June 6 meeting.
If that roof repair money comes through, the district will have a surplus of $155,000 in its 2011-12 budget.
If not, the district will have to come up with almost $350,000. Officials will take it from the $5.4 million fund balance, Davidek said.
The primary school's roof had been leaking even though it was only a few years old, so the district replaced it last summer at a cost of almost $684,000, Davidek said.
The district's solicitor is pursing the original contractor to recoup some of the cost, Davidek said. Brandstetter said the district could get $500,000 through the settlement meeting.
Budget figures presented next week should not include roof remediation money, Director Glenn Lang said, because the budget should reflect the worst-case scenario.
Two teachers who are retiring -- a family and consumer sciences teacher at the high school and a second-grade teacher at the elementary school -- will not be replaced, nor will a language arts teacher at the high school teacher who is resigning.
Even with those positions gone, "class sizes, by and large, will remain the same," Assistant Superintendent Michael Leitera said.
Some expenses will increase next year, such as health insurance, retirement, transportation. Others, such as supplies, have been pared down by 10 percent.
Board members also talked about a $20,000 per school year cap for field trips.
That would mean officials would have to "use discretion on defining what is an essential field trip," Davidek said.
If planned spending for the rest of this school year goes as scheduled, officials will have about $800,000 left over. That money will be used to buy textbooks, science kits and a dump truck, among other equipment.
About the proposed tax hike
Here's how taxes could change on a house with an assessed value of $19,110
Old tax rate: 89.675
New tax rate: 91.275
Old tax bill: $1,714