The Upper Perkiomen School District preliminary budget for 2013-14, released this month, calls for a 2 percent increase in real estate taxes.
According to the budget, the district won’t apply for an exception to Act 1, a state law which sets an allowable index for each school district to raise real estate taxes yearly. This year, the state set Upper Perk’s index at 2.0.
The proposed preliminary budget, which is up for a vote at the Feb. 14 school board meeting, is set at $53,103,266. That figure is a little more than a $2 million increase over last year’s budget.
Revenue from local sources was estimated at $34,127,604, up about $1.5 million from last year. State revenue was projected at $15,894,792, about $500,000 more than last year due to estimates that state pension contributions would increase. Federal funding was estimated to decrease; the budget calls for $575,786 compared to $654,962 last year.
The budget takes into account salary increases for district personnel over last year.
District Business Administrator Sandy Kassel said while all administrators took a pay freeze for next year, other factors are still up in the air. Members of the Upper Perkiomen Education Association, who agreed to a salary freeze for 2012-13, are currently involved in contract negotiations with the district for 2013-14.
Kindergarten registration for Marlborough and Hereford elementary schools opens in March. How many new students the district gets is also a factor in salary numbers.
“Kindergarten registration was high last year,” Kassel said. “If that continues we’ll have to look at staffing. We don’t like class sizes to get too large.”
The budget utilizes a fund balance of $4,032,212 to balance next year’s budget. Kassel said she couldn’t estimate the remaining balance, if that amount is used, as the fund balance is constantly fluctuating.
The millage rate is slated to increase from 21.9521 for Montgomery and Berks county residents to 22.3911.
To calculate projected real estate taxes, property owners would divide their assessed value by 65.06991 percent, multiply that number times 75 percent, and multiply that figure times the millage rate, 22.3911. The amount of homestead/farmstead exemptions available for those who qualify has yet to be determined. The exemption refunded property owners $189.59 last year.
The final 2013-14 budget is scheduled to be passed at the board’s June 13 meeting.
In other district news, the school board held a special meeting Jan. 24 to refinance a 2007 bond series. That bond, used for renovations at Upper Perk Middle School and the addition at Hereford Elementary, was refinanced for a savings of $1,363,181.21.