Allentown
54° F
Thunderstorm
Thunderstorm
 

Governor Mifflin School Board looking to raise taxes to fill budget gap

By Greg Didyoung, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 04 2013 11:04:22 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 05 2013 10:03:17 AM CST
Gov. Mifflin School Board meeting

Gregory Didyoung/69 News

SHILLINGTON, Pa. -

The Governor Mifflin School Board discussed the possibility of raising taxes and cutting the number of classes to close a nearly $2 million deficit for the 2013-14 school year.

The district's yearly budget of $64,668,189 is short by $1,879,000 and officials said a tax increase would be necessary to make up the difference. Board President James Ulrich asked the board whether it would support a million-dollar tax increase.

Board Member Jill Koestel was in favor, saying, “I'm willing to raise taxes and take the flack for it... whatever is necessary for the administration to move forward.”

Vice President Jeff Haggerty was skeptical, saying,”I will not support a tax increase that cuts any more extracurricular activities.”

Officials were quick to point out that these are preliminary figures, and exactly what the deficit would be and how high a tax increase would be needed, still has to be determined.

“Our actual budget isn't due until June,” said Keri Morton, the director of public information, adding that it's important the district decide now how it will fund its budget.

One of the ways the district is looking to save money is by reducing the number of periods in a middle school day from eight to seven. The move would save the district around $200,000. Morton cautioned, however, that this would be only a one-time saving, and that a tax increase would still be needed.

James Ulrich asked the board to vote on the seven period issue Monday night.

Koestel was against the vote, saying, “This is an issue that should be on the agenda.”

Ulrich made a motion for counsel to vote at its next scheduled meeting but asked the members how they felt about the issue by conducting a straw vote.

The straw vote came out in favor of a seven period day, with members voting 6-2.
The board said it would continue to discuss solutions to the budget deficit at its next meeting on Mon., Feb. 11.