Business Manager Minnie Baker, who presented the overview, said the board has to either approve a preliminary budget now or adopt a resolution by Jan. 7 indicating taxes won’t be raised higher than the set index of 3.3 percent, or 2.503 mills.
“That doesn’t mean we’re going to raise taxes 2.503 mills, but that gives you the option to do so,” she said.
If no tax increase is approved, taxes will remain at 75.861 mills, generating $43,622,073 in revenue. An increase to the index would put the tax rate at 78.362 mills, which would bring in $44,268,508.
Baker said there are projected deficits of $2,056,824 with no tax increase and $1,410,389 deficit with the increase.
She stressed that this is “very early” to give proposed numbers and said it’s too early to know what the final budget will look like.
“As of today the state budget hasn’t even been passed,” Baker said. “We don’t know what’s coming for the 2015-16 school year, let alone predict next year.”
The district is currently in negotiations to settle the teachers contract, which expired June 30. The support staff contract expires June 30, 2016. Adjustments will have to be made for once settled.
Retirement contribution costs for the district are also up from 25.84 percent to 29.20 percent.
“There are many unknowns, and more than likely, this budget will change,” Baker said.
New board member Terry Mylan motioned to have budget workshop meetings with taxpayers, and said the board needs to come up with a comprehensive plan and begin strategic workshops in January.
“We need to have specific goals. We then need to have tasks and we need to have people responsible for those tasks to ensure we accomplish what we need to accomplish,” Mylan said.
She also requested the board seek out grant writers, a suggestion the board plans to vote on next week.
“There are many, many technology grants that we are missing out on that could certainly help out with our budget,” Mylan said.
Preliminary budget presentation will be made available online at www.ambridgek12.pa.us