By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item
LEWISBURG — A “worst-case scenario” would find the Lewisburg Area School District raising real-estate taxes 5.5 percent, or 0.86 mills, to cover most of an $868,686 deficit in the preliminary 2013-14 budget, directors said Thursday night.
Such a measure would take the millage from 15.48 to 16.34. That means, for instance, a home worth $100,000 would have a tax bill of $1,634. The district’s median assessed home value is $136,500, making for a tax increase of $117.39.
The preliminary budget, available for public comment for 20 days, is $29,394,857. The school board will vote on that budget at its next meeting, Feb. 14.
Voting to adopt that budget means the school district would apply for exemptions to the Act 1 index, letting it raise taxes above Lewisburg’s 2 percent index. It doesn’t mean the district has to raise taxes to the maximum but gives it room to do so if necessary.
The 2 percent index would generate $283,035 for the school district. The added exemptions — 0.28 mill for retirement and 0.27 mill for special education — would raise an additional $498,923.
The preliminary budget includes “a lot of guesswork at the moment,” business manager Ron Kabonick said. And Superintendent Mark DiRocco wanted to be clear that no one was recommending the increase Thursday night.
“This is very preliminary and a discussion we need to have,” he said.
DiRocco added that the deficit is “based on what we know.”
Lewisburg’s preliminary budget is roughly 4 percent higher than last year.
Gov. Tom Corbett makes his address Feb. 5, and school officials statewide will learn what funding they may expect from Harrisburg.
The budget discussion almost deflated some good news of the night: The Green Dragon Foundation presented the school district with $65,000, bringing total funds donated from the non-profit group to about $300,000 in more than three years.
Foundation president Brooks Gronlund said the money is designated for particular projects and subjects as requested by the donors.