Stafford Township School Board Approves 2018-19 Budget With Tax Rate Reduction

May 09, 2018

With few individuals in attendance for the public hearing and following a brief presentation by Superintendent George Chidiac and Business Administrator Dan Smith, the Stafford Township Board of Education unanimously approved the school district’s proposed 2018-19 budget on April 26.

The most favorable aspect of the new budget is a reduced tax rate of nearly 5 percent, Smith said. While the tax rate for the current budget cycle was 75.2 cents per $100 of assessed property value, the next budget features a reduction of 3.73 cents, to 71.147 cents. According to Smith, Stafford district taxpayers had seen increases for three straight years from 2014-15 through 2016-17. Last year’s rate did not change from the previous year.

But this time, it’s decreasing 4.96 percent, yielding a $111 drop in taxes for the average property of $300,000. Smith cited an increase of some $268 million in tax ratables throughout Stafford Township as the main cause for the rate decrease, even though the district’s operating budget is increasing by 2 percent.

With a total of $41,782,153 in expenditures expected for 2018-19, the four highest-cost items as part of the budget are expected to be regular instruction ($9,906,311), employee benefits ($9,679,514), special education ($4,446,264) and maintenance/security ($3,991,563), which dropped by more than $45,000 from the 2017-18 budget. Capital outlay, which consumed more than $1.2 million on this year’s budget, is expected to drop some $965,000 – offsetting a large portion of the increases for regular instruction and employee benefits, which totaled $1,204,655.

Among the expenditures inserted into the 2018-19 budget, a few of them will be the purchase of two new 54-passenger buses and the addition of two sixth-grade teaching positions and a pair of safety officers, as well as previously approved referendum projects – facility improvements to the Oxycocus (HVAC and plumbing) and McKinley Avenue (gym floor and interior doors) school buildings.

— David Biggy

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