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H-H School Board Adopts Budget

Tax hike is less than previously anticipated.

Taxpayers in Hatboro and Horsham, on average, will pay roughly $50 and $75 more, respectively, in school district taxes under an $86.1 million budget the board adopted Monday night.

The spending plan levies a 1.67 percent tax boost – an amount slightly lower than the when the board approved its preliminary budget last month.

Under the new rate, the millage will increase from 24.992 to 25.410, representing an added expense of $41.80 for every $100,000 of assessed property value. For Hatboro property owners, the average increase is $50.70, while the average Horsham homeowner would pay $74.56 more.

The 2012-13 budget anticipated a revenue increase of $1.02 million. Despite increased revenues, the district is facing a $2,014,931 - or 2.39 percent -increase in expenditures, due to increases in operational costs, salary and benefits, health care contributions and Public School Employees' Retirement System contributions, officials said.

Director of Business Affairs Robert Reichert said during a brief presentation that the resulting shortfall of $986,791 – or 1.67 of the total budget - warranted the need for a tax increase.

He also pointed out that 8,287 qualified school district homeowners this summer would receive a $269.22 reduction in their property taxes via $2.2 million in additional state gambling proceeds. Reichert said the decrease would be noted on tax bills.

“We achieved some very solid results,” Reichert said.

Superintendent Curtis Griffin said the possibility of furloughing teachers is not nearly as likely as it had been last month. Seven full-time positions have been reduced through attrition, he said, adding that administrators “still are working through” to see if cuts would be necessary in business consumer science, physical education and math.

When asked if furloughs are necessary at this point, Griffin said, “I hope not.”

The board would act on furloughs, should they be necessary, in August, Griffin said. Board meetings have been cancelled for July. 

In other budget-related business, the board voted in favor of authorizing the transfer of its fund balance in excess of 5 percent of the 2012-2013 budget to the capital reserve fund as determined during the annual audit. 

Reichert said the district maintains an “unappropriated fund balance” of 5 percent. He said it is common practice for the fund transfer – if it is carried out – to be used to cover future projects, including a roof replacement at Blair Mill Elementary School and other renovations outlined in the district’s five-year building project plan.

“There may not be” excess funds, Reichert said.

Keith August 03, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Theresa - Thanks for the article and great reporting. I keep looking online for any information regarding how they determine the 8,287 Hatboro Horsham homeowners are "Qualified". Who gets a tax reduction? Who doesnt? Thanks, Keith
Theresa Katalinas (Editor) August 03, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Thanks Keith. I just sent an email to try to get an answer. I'll post it here once I know for sure ...
Theresa Katalinas (Editor) August 03, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Keith, This is from Bob Reichert at Hatboro-Horsham School District: "Every year the state provides a specific allocation of funding to our district that comes from gambling proceeds. We are required to use these funds to offset or lower property taxes for qualified homeowners in HH. You must be a resident and a homeowner and you must complete a homestead/farmstead application through the county assessor’s office. You only have to complete an application once, not annually. Each year, the county assessor’s office provides the district with a list of those parcels/properties that have been approved for the exclusion. We then distribute the funding equally to all of these homeowners in the form of a deduction on their real estate bill."
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