2 Mills Is Shaved Off Budget

Posted: June 06, 1991

There was good news and bad news, old news and new news, and some things that nobody knew at Tuesday's meeting of the Lower Moreland Board of School Directors - a meeting attended by nearly 300 residents.

The good news was that the district was able to shave 2 mills, about $89,000, off the 1991-1992 proposed school budget.

The bad news, for some but not all taxpayers, is that the district still has to levy a tax increase of 7.2 percent, or between 12 and 14 mills, over last year's school tax levy in order to keep its head above water.

What nobody seems to know is what will happen with Gov. Casey's proposed budget, specifically: when it will be passed, in what form of its original likeness it will be passed, and how it will affect school districts like Lower Moreland.

The good news about a reduction in the amount of the proposed school tax increase is due to a recent decision by the Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement System Board to reduce the amount of money that both the school districts and the state have to give to the retirement system. Each was paying 9.45 percent of the wages of every full-time school employee to the retirement fund, an amount matched by the state, but will now pay 8.3 percent of those wages into the fund, a reduction of 1.15 percent.

The rest of the bad news for anyone who pays taxes is that if Casey's budget is passed in its current form, Lower Moreland taxpayers would face a tax increase of between 21 and 23 mills over last year.

At the current school millage rate of 194.5, the owner of a home assessed at the township average of $10,000 is paying $1,945 in school taxes. If there is no change in state funding, the tax bill will increase to between $2,065 and $2,085. With Casey's budget, the bill could rise to between $2,155 and $2,175.

Being bashed monthly by taxpayers opposing spending increases, such as the $100,000 plan to start an all-day kindergarten program in the district this fall, is old news to board members.

But much of Tuesday's crowd, who packed the Murray Avenue Middle School Cafeteria, showed overwhelming support for the all-day kindergarten.

Many parents who spoke in favor of the plan said they had moved to Lower Moreland because of the school district's good reputation. They urged the board to give the all-day kindergarten program a chance. Their comments were met with overwhelming applause.

The all-day kindergarten program, and a $110,700 expenditure for an administrative assistant to the superintendent have both been approved as a part of the preliminary budget, but board members said Tuesday that nothing will be certain until the final budget is passed on June 24.

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