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County schools adopt $180.5 million budget for FY18

County schools adopt $180.5 million budget for FY18”

If approved, the tax hike would be the fourth lowest in Chester County behind the Oxford, Great Valley and Downingtown school districts, finance director Christopher Gehris said at the May 8 budget meeting.

Transportation expenses will outweigh revenues by about $45,000 this year - $622,167 in revenue and $667,607 in expenses, but reserves will have the fund sitting at $1.275 million by the end of the fiscal year. The increase in the tax levy is 1.995 percent and complies with the state's required tax levy cap.

Voters also approved Proposition 5, which authorized the Board of Education to negotiate and grant easements to American Water, 1,148 to 221. Heather Welch received 694 votes; Alan Barone drew 67. Last year, 363 voters showed up to the polls to approve the 2016-17 budget by a vote of 309 to 54. School officials said 63 affidavit votes would be verified on Wednesday and a victor would be declared. They also supported the Community Free Library in a 384 to 134 vote. Of the three candidates vying for the school board's two open seats, Jennifer Olson and Tom Frederes were declared the winners, with 221 and 211 votes, respectively.

Franklin, the only school in our area that surpassed its budget cap, easily passed its budget, 128-36.

It would also be the district's seventh tax increase in the last eight years.

Glenn Niles and Kerry Cunningham, both running unopposed, were elected to the Brewster School Board while Haldane school trustee Peggy Clements ran unopposed as did Joseph Ferraro in Putnam Valley and Diana Swinburne and Courtney McCarthy in Garrison.

The Ripley Central School District proposed a 2017-18 budget of $9,154,039-a 12.31 percent increase from 2007-08.

Board members take seats July 1 in Johnstown.

A public hearing on the budget was held on May 3 at Howell Middle School North. Not only are deep cuts being discussed, but these districts will need a super majority, or 60 percent, of the vote for their budgets to pass, because the proposals exceed the tax cap.

Dr. Michael Hynes, superintendent of the Patchogue-Medford School District on Long Island, says this is a real opportunity for residents to decide how their school tax dollars will be spent as the budget affects staffing, purchases, and capital improvements.

The budget for next year includes $1.27 million for Equity and Access, a new initiative to help teachers reach at-risk students and remove barriers to learning caused by childhood trauma, family disruption and poverty.

Those schools will also receive renovations and updates to classrooms and other educational spaces.

An increased employer contribution to the Public School Employees' Retirement System from 30.03 percent of payroll to 32.57 percent. Voters also approved the purchase of school buses and similar vehicles at a maximum cost of $380,000, with 151 voting in favor and 75 voting against.

The Randolph Central School District proposed a 2017-18 budget of $20,294,455 - a 19.20 percent increase from 2007-08. The expenditure is temporary, since the library will eventually reimburse the school district when it sets up its own levy.



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