Board plans no tax hike
Monday night the Ephrata Area School Board approved a proposed final budget for the 2014-2015 school year with no tax increase.
If the budget is approved June 16, the millage rate will remain at 19.6.
“It is with thoughtful evaluation and careful consideration that we reviewed the proposed budget and how it first impacts our students, second our staff, and third our community,” said board president Tim Stayer. “I am pleased to say that due to prior planning by the board and superintendent, as a district, we are fiscally sound and able to adopt a budget with a zero percent increase for the 2014-2015 school year.”
“We all know that many of our community members are still facing difficult times in this struggling economy. Our primary focus is the success of our students, and at no time do we want to put the district in fiscal jeopardy,” Stayer added.
Ephrata Superintendent Dr. Brian Troop explained some of the reasons the district is in this enviable position.
“Increases to our tax base resulting from increased commercial properties and the opportunity to refinance debt put the district in a fortunate position where we can forgo a tax increase,” said Dr. Troop.
“Compared to recent years, the district had its highest increase in assessed value this year, which is mainly due to the new Giant shopping center and the tax forgiveness of the Keystone Opportunity Zone ending,” said business manager Kristee Reichard.
“Additionally, the thoughtful planning over the years of previous administrators and board members has enabled the district to develop a budget that supports us in accomplishing our mission,” Dr. Troop added.
“The board did not make this decision lightly or in a vacuum. We have our eyes on the future, which will bring additional difficult challenges and is full of the uncertainties of new regulations, more unfunded mandates, and fiscal obligations,” Stayer concluded.
The proposed final budget will be available for review in the District Office at 803 Oak Boulevard.