School Board Adopts Preliminary Budget

As proposed, the spending plan calls for a 1.7 percent tax hike.

Hatboro and Horsham homeowners can expect to pay higher school taxes under ’s $86.2 million preliminary budget, which the board adopted Monday night. 

The average Hatboro homeowner would pay an additional $51.43 and the average Horsham property owner would pay an extra $75.63 provided the final budget – slated for a June 18 adoption – calls for the same tax levy. The increase represents $42.40 per every $100,000 of assess property value, according to Director of Business Affairs Bob Reichert.

The potential tax boost represents a millage increase from 24.992 to 25.416, which is equivalent to a 1.7 percent increase, according to Reichert. Under Act 1, a state law that sets maximum tax-raising thresholds, 1.7 percent is the cap for a tax increase without applying for an exception, according to Superintendent Curtis Griffin.

Before Act 1, “there was no limit,” Griffin said of tax levies in the past.

Griffin said the budget takes into account a reduction of staff by 5 or 5.5, amounting to about $300,000. He said “definitely” six positions will be eliminated.

Many of the planned cuts are being handled by attrition, or had been planned for with the use of a long-term substitute teacher, he said.  

“We then are typically losing an employee who’s at the top of the scale,” Griffin said of retirements. “Financially, it’s in the district’s best interest.”

At this point, Griffin said he does not know how many retirements to expect prior to budget finalization. Last year, as part of the . He told Patch last month that three of the positions eyed for cutting are held by long-term subs.

Griffin said he’s seeking official board action during the May 21 meeting in terms of program and staff reductions. In the meantime, Griffin said he intends to meet with staff and “talk about the status of where we are on all of these.”

If furloughs are needed, Griffin said he hopes they can be undertaken by mid-June or early July. 

Tara May 08, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Since the downturn in economy most homes are not worth what they were just 5 or more years ago. Wouldn't that mean that the tax rate is already incorrect? That people are paying an amount based on a price they could no longer hope to sell their home for? I wouldn't be surprised if we see more residents applying for a re-assessment to lower the value of their home to the present value.
Dolores Forget May 08, 2012 at 10:17 PM
It's a slippery slope with the re-assesments. Regardless of home values, many of the benefits and services we moved here for cost the same to provide. Personally, I am not thrilled that my house is worth less than 60% of what I paid in 2004 -- but if we all go running for re-assesments, we will harm our investment further, because the area will go downhill. As for the 1.7 increase, it is not a lot and anyone with kids in our schools will benefit, and perhaps there can be some sort of rebate or "hold" for the elderly.
Suzanne May 17, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Have you tried to get your house re-assessed? We did. We went in with comps showing that we were over-assessed. It didn't matter. The county turned us down with no explanation. To re-apply on our own would be futile and hiring an attorney would cost an amount close to what we would have saved. And, of course, having an attorney doesn't guarantee success.


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