No school tax break likely

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:10

WESTFALL - “We have no plan to lower taxes,” Jack Fisher said last Thursday. Fisher, who chairs the Delaware Valley School District finance committee, put to rest discussion of Board Member Ed Silverstone’s proposed resolution that would prohibit the administration from seeking any new tax increase beyond three percent. With more than two months remaining before the board votes on the budget, Fisher noted that the panel has completed three-quarters of the budget preparations and “we’re pretty much looking in the five-percent range.” Much of that is people costs. Business Manager Bill Hessling said $39 million, some 68 percent of the current $57 million budget, covers salaries and benefits. Speaking to benefits, Fisher warned of the recent years’ steep increase in the district’s contribution to employee retirement costs. “Read that as a 23-percent increase in five years. It’s not sustainable at this rate,” he said. Superintendent Dr. Candis Finan earlier called for the addition of 19 new faculty members for the growing district. Detailing one remedial advanced math position questioned by Member Robert Goldsack, Finan touched on the influx of families from New York into Pike County. Of 225 students identified as being in need of the remedial work, 80 percent were from New York, where state testing standards and curriculum differ. “It’s a fluid population and teaching needs are based on the population,” she said. Goldsack pressed for a predictable end date for the need for the position, but with demographic predicitons of more growth, Finan said the need could continue for some years to come.