East Lycoming approves plan for a tax increase
HUGHESVILLE – East Lycoming School Board passed the district’s 2012-13 $21 million budget with a 0.25 millage hike. The increase amounts to a $24 increase for the $94,960 average home, David L. Maciejewski, business manager, said.
The new real estate tax will be 11.78 mills.
“The board has been financially responsible over the last 10 years in the sense that it’s been looking forward five years since the early 2000s,” Maciejewski said.
The board generally looks to make gradual tax increases over time rather than one large increase or to use one-time emergency fees to cover expenses such as other districts have done, he said.
Helping to balance the budget were staff members retiring. Of the 13 who retired after the just-completed school year, nine have been replaced. In addition to savings by not replacing four staffers, money was saved on the new hires who come in at a lower pay scale. About 70 percent of the budget is made of salaries and benefits, Maciejewski said.
By raising taxes, programs can be saved for students, superintendent Michael Pawlik said.
“East Lycoming School District is committed to quality schools and quality programs,” he said. “As we worked through the budget process, we wanted to make sure we were keeping programs that our students need to be successful in life.”
In a time of a “very negative climate,” the school district has expanded the Advanced Placement program and credit requirements needed to graduate, which would not have been possible without the district and board members working together, Pawlik said.
Voting in favor of the budget were Richard Michael, Lea Ann Hawk, Donna Gavitt, Diane Santo, Richard Bradley and Debra Sherlinski. Kellie Shaner-Gordner, Amy Rogers and Renee Laychur were absent.