Ambridge is projecting a $1.064 million deficit next year even with a tax increase, according to school officials.
District Business Manager Minnie Baker gave an informational presentation during the Ambridge Area School Board meeting Wednesday night, explaining the budget timeline and projected landscape for the 2014-15 year.
The proposed spending plan totals $42,505,366 – more than half of which is attributed to contractual salaries, benefits and the mandated increase in the district’s Pennsylvania State Employee Retirement System contribution.
Even with an increase of 2.07-mills, the district's index, the budget numbers project a deficit. If approved, the increase would bring the tax rate to 76.009 mills. This means a home assessed at $50,000 would pay an additional $103.50.
Baker said the district’s pension fund contribution will increase 16.19 to 21.4 percent. Other expenses include salary and health care increases, building costs, cyber-charter tuitions and a $500,000 lawsuit settlement payment.
Baker said the district could realize some revenue from the district's cyber arts and dance academy, cyber-charter reform, bond refinancing and additional special education state funding.
Under Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget, Ambridge could also receive an additional $500,000 through a Ready to Learn block grant.
If approved, however, Baker said the funds must be earmarked for specific initiatives predetermined by the state Department of Education.
In total, the state provides $17,665,410 or 43 percent of the district’s overall revenue. The majority of the district’s funding – 53 percent – is derived from local taxpayers.
A budget workshop open to the public will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday April 30 in the high school cafeteria. Residents will be able to ask questions regarding the budget.
Baker said questions can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The school board's deadline to adopt the 2014-15 proposed budget is May 30. The budget presentation from Wednesday is available on the district’s website by clicking here.
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