DV to raise taxes 2.27%

| 21 May 2015 | 12:05

    By Anya Tikka
    The Delaware Valley School District Board of Education voted on Tuesday to approve a $75.48 million budget and increase school taxes by 2.27 percent, in a split vote of 5-4.

    Voting in favor of the 2.27 percentage increase were school board directors Brian Carso, Chuck Pike, John Wroblewski, Jack Fisher and Sue Casey.

    Voting against the measure were board directors Jessica Decker, John Jack O’Leary, Pam Lufty and Zachary Pearce. The tax rate has gone up by 2.3 percent and 2.85 percent in the last two years partly to meet increased obligations to the Public School Employees Retirement System.

    The vote for a 2.27 percent increase came after two rounds of voting, starting with a proposed 1.44 percent increase and a proposed 2.5 percent, and then settling on 2.27 percent. The debate on what percentage to use revolved around how much state aid could be expected this year, before the state legislature finalizes a budget.

    Several board members said the aid would most likely be similar to previous years.

    “Today, we’re looking into a fuzzy crystal ball. If we get 50 percent of the proposed Governor (Tom) Wolf increase, we can go for 1.44 percent increase,” Superintendent John Bell said.

    The district's proposed $75,478,252 million budget is posted on the district website and will go before voters on June 18.

    O’Leary, who has said that residents can't sustain any school tax increases, questioned why there’s money left for building a new elementary school and gym, and repairs for swimming pool, including spectator seating. He’s said he can't support any tax increases.

    “Put any surplus into a fund, or give it back to public,” Lutfy said.

    Casey supported going for the highest debated increase.

    “If we go for 2.5 percent, and the whole 50 percent comes through, it’s easier to explain to people if we go down,” Casey said.

    “It’s easier to come down than go up,” Wroblewski said.

    “I’d go for expecting 50 percent aid and going up with the percentage, if we have to,” Pike said.