Real estate taxes are going up for property owners in the South Williamsport Area School District as the school board approved a resolution setting the real estate tax millage at 18.35, which reflects a 1 mill increase over the 2021-22 budget.
The vote was not unanimous, with Board President Todd Engel the lone no vote. Board members voting yes were: Steve Rupert, Cathay Bachman, Sue Bowman, Ben Brigandi, Summer Bukeavich, Dian Cramer and John Hitesman. Nathan Miller was absent for the meeting.
Original to dollars, this means that taxpayers will pay $1,835 per $100,000 of a property’s assessed value in real estate taxes to the district.
The tax increase was necessary in order to balance the $20,399,816 general fund budget.
This is the second year in a row that the board has approved a tax increase. The 2021-22 budget included a .57 mill increase.
The Earned Income Tax remains the same at 1.1% for the 2022-23 and the realty transfer tax stays at .5%.
In addition, the board passed the district’s 2022 Homestead/Farmstead Exclusion Resolution. The district is slated to receive funds in the amount of $707,126 to help reduce property taxes for qualified residents. There are 2,393 residents who qualify under the Homestead program and two under the Farmstead program. Monies from the programs are derived from gambling tax funds. There is also $2,331 remaining from last year’s gambling receipts that must be returned to the taxpayers. The funds come from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to help with property tax reduction and are derived from gambling tax funds.
According to preliminary calculations, the maximum real estate tax reduction that qualified property owners will receive is $296.22 under both the Homestead and Farmstead programs.
In other finance actions, the board approved removing the remaining $50,000 of Committed Fund Balance which had been committed to offset future PSERS’ increases.
On the recommendation of Jamie Mowrey, district board manager, the removal was due to the slowing of increases in the PSERS’ rate.
According to the district, prior school boards began setting amounts aside in 2009 and the balance reached $1,300,000 by 2013 before being spent down through deficit budgets caused by the rising PSERS rates.
The estimated total fund balance will be $2,693,706, of which $1,100,000 will be assigned for the purpose of future technology upgrades/replacements or unforeseen PSERS increases. The remaining balance will remain unassigned.
The superintendent accepted letters of resignation from the following employees: Laura Miller, paraprofessional at Rommelt Elementary; Scott Shaffer, crossing/security guard; Johanna Hazel, high school food service worker; and Ryan Carper, high school social studies teacher and social studies department chair.
The following athletic coaches and stipends where applicable were approved by the board:
• Football: Chris Lusk, first assistant, $4,759; Chris Engler, second assistant, $3,003; Randy Boone, third assistant, $2,854; Connor Rutan, $2,854; Ryan Barnes, Gideon Green, Rich Schonewolf, Tyler Schonewolf, volunteers; Scott White, junior high assistant, $2,764; Matt Barholomew, Bill Giles and Shane Miller, junior high volunteers.
Marching Band: Jessica Kaledas, director, $5,326; Robyn Rummings, assistant director, $3,265; Tina Pulver, band front instructor, $3,265; Ellen Benfer and Marcus Lone, percussion directors, $1,037 each.
Girls soccer: Jane House, assistant coach, $2,856 and Tracy Knoebel, volunteer.
• Cross country: Kerry Taylor, volunteer.
• Junior High cross country: Julie Pentico, head coach, $2,027 and Tracy Knoebel, volunteer.
• Cheerleading: Christine Miller, head coach, $3,681; Mackenzie Miller, assistant coach, $2,856; Aubrey Quimby, junior high head coach, $2,500; and Monica Boone, junior high assistant, $2,074.
• Junior high softball: Tom O’Malley, head coach, $2,500; Adam Lorson, first assistant, $2,142; Cory Goodman, Scott Lowery and Chris Schuler, volunteers.
• Girls’ tennis: Kent Young, assistant coach, $2,475.
Boys Soccer: Michael Gonzalez, assistant coach, $2,856.
The board approved several agreements with BLaST Intermediate Unit 17 for the upcoming school year. They included: the IDEA agreement which provides federal funding for special education programs that qualify under IDEA Component III; the special education services agreement which covers services rendered to exceptional students who are enrolled in IU programs or receiving service through the IU; the tech services agreement for data hosting at a cost of $16,000 and if need additional services will increase the cost by $1,200 for each; tech agreement for engineering or other tech services at a cost of $85 per hour for standard service, $115 per hour for high level service or $125 per hour for after hour/unscheduled service on an as needed basis; and the DaRTS software agreement.
A service agreement with Montgomery County Intermediate Unit to allow the IU to provide Marcia Brenner Report Car Creator PowerSchool Plug-in annual support and maintenance for a fee of $491 was approved.
A contract with UPMC Williamsport doing business as UPMC Pediatric Rehabilitation for occupational and physical therapy services for students in the school setting was also approved.
The next board meeting will be at 6 pm July 18 in the High School Library, 700 Percy St.