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School District OKs Special Exception for Higher Taxes

The Bensalem Township School District is seeking authorization from the state to raise taxes higher than permitted under the Act 1 index.

The Bensalem Township School District is seeking authorization from the state to raise taxes higher than permitted under the Act 1 index. Photo credit: Theresa Katalinas
The Bensalem Township School District is seeking authorization from the state to raise taxes higher than permitted under the Act 1 index. Photo credit: Theresa Katalinas
The Bensalem Township School Board on Wednesday adopted its $132.4 million preliminary budget, putting the wheels in motion for a tax increase roughly 1.5 times higher than the amount allowed under state law. 

Under Act 1, school districts are permitted to raise taxes in the 2014-2015 school year by a maximum of 2.1 percent. The district, however, is seeking special exceptions, which, if granted, would increase taxes by an estimated 3.2 percent. 

The proposed millage rate for the 2014-2015 fiscal year is 148.9692. For the owner of a home with an average assessed value of $21,000, that translates to $97 more per year in taxes for 2014-2015 as compared to currently, Kenneth Medina, the district’s director of business operations told Patch previously.

Medina said on Wednesday that he did not know the State Department of Education's "time line" for approving special exceptions, but said the final authorization would be necessary prior to final budget adoption, which is slated for June 18. 

Board members Kevin McKay and Matthew Grodsky voted against adoption of the preliminary budget. 

Medina told Patch earlier this month that the $78 million renovation and addition at Bensalem High School, as well as a 21 percent increase in the Public School Employees' Retirement System and double-digit medical insurance costs warranted the need for taxes higher than permitted under Act 1. 

Next steps

  • The school board will hold a budget work session on Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Adoption of the proposed final budget is slated for May 14 at 7:30 p.m. 
  • A public question and answer session for the proposed final budget will be May 28 immediately following the 7:30 p.m. action meeting. 
  • The final budget will be adopted on June 18 at 7 p.m. 
P2YA January 26, 2014 at 05:08 PM
One thing those people are good at on Donallen Drive is identifying the loopholes. What they're not good at is fiscal management, holding the line with the teacher's union, making hard cuts and imposing pay to play for sports. You can rest well assured the district and the board have their i's dotted and their t's crossed so that their 3.2% tax increase is not exposed to a referendum. This is one reason why they rushed through approval of the high school renovation so the debt service would never be put to voters. The real referendum was last November when through either low turnout or blind stupidity we, the taxpayers of Bensalem, voted in the same tax and spend Republican endorsed slate of candidates. These people think you voted them in because you don't mind paying more taxes and they can continue saying yes to Baugh and every other "educator" that sticks his or her hands out to spend YOUR money.
George Bambooshack January 26, 2014 at 06:29 PM
P2YA you are a great writer. :) I agree with you entirely. Looks like we are now up the creek without a paddle. We need some new Democrats to replace the Republican Monopoly.
Sharon Derr January 29, 2014 at 04:22 PM
http://www.bensalemsd.org/cms/lib7/PA01000472/Centricity/Domain/107/2014.15%20Budget%20Dates.BOARDAPPROVED112613.pdf This is a link to the Public meetings held in 2014 for the approval of the budget. It is always open to the public to voice your concerns.

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