If the proposed final budget unanimously approved by the Warren County School District board of directors on Monday looks like the final budget that is approved next month, your taxes are going up.
The board gave its consent to a budget that includes a 2-mill tax increase, a millage increase of 3.92 percent during a special meeting on Monday night held amid committee meetings.
That still leaves the district until July 1 to come up with coverage for an additional $426,752 that remains as a deficit.
The biggest variable left is most likely state funding, and Superintendent Dr. William Clark said he has been told to expect less in state funding than Gov. Tom Corbett's original budget proposal outlined.
But Clark cautioned that this isn't final.
"This is a preliminary budget," he said. "This is where we are at at this point in time."
According to Business Manager Jim Grosch, that 2-mill increase will generate an additional $817,563, reducing the deficit from $3,157,640 to $2,201,987.
Then, figuring in the $305,250 in budget additions and $2,095,485 in reductions set at a meeting earlier this month, the deficit dips to $426,752.
Clark praised the board for continuing to be lean while providing opportunities for students.
Board member Jack Werner asked, of the state funding in the proposed budget, "which dollars are potentially jeopardized?"
"(I) would honestly say that the state hasn't voted on any of their budget yet," Grosch said, "(so) all could be in jeopardy at some level."
He specifically mentioned the accountability block grant, $498,547 used to pay for full-day kindergarten, and $816,000 in Ready to Lean block grant funding as "two that would be most concerning to me."
"(We have) heard a lot of talk, don't cut teachers, don't cut programs," said Board member Tom Knapp. "But if we were to maintain just the way we are now. (We) would need a 10-mill increase in taxes. That's what we're working against folks."
He said the board has a "gun to our head with a dollar sign on it," but that there is "not a lot we can do until the state comes through with some money."
During the Finance Committee meeting later in the evening, Grosch proposed a way to get the $426,752 deficit down to $146,157. Explaining that the district has $1,271,525 set aside for state-mandated retirement contributions, with an additional $425,000 to be set aside this year, Grosch said the funding could be spread over multiple years to draw down the yearly effect retirement contributions have on the budget.
He said this would be a step "that makes a lot of sense to me, that we would use this over a 20-year period to lessen the burden."
The board has until July 1 to enact a final budget. The proposed budget approved Monday, which will be available at each district building, central office and the district's website, must be open for a period of 20 days for public inspection prior to the passage of a final budget.