Elk Lake taxes heading up

The Elk Lake School Board approved a budget of $20.2 million for 2017/2018, which includes a jump in local property taxes.
According to budget records available online at www.elklakeschool.org, property taxes will be increasing 4.83 percent in Susquehanna County with the millage rate going from 40.5729 for the school year almost over to 42.53 for 2017-18.
The millage rate in Wyoming County will increase 3.62 percent from 49.77 to 51.57 percent.
The numbers are roughly in line with what had been spoken to by the board in February when a $20,928,946 budget for 2017-18 had been proposed, which was $645,000 more than what went up last Thursday.
In his presentation to the board, district Superintendent Dr. Ken Cuomo referred to the budget as still “unbalanced.”
He said that funds would be taken from committed funds of $752,115. This will cover retirement, retirement payouts, and the revenue shortfall.
“This has been a very challenging budget season, to say the least,” Cuomo explained.
He said that the latest proposed budget is $518,366.29 above the 2016/2017 budget.
“The increase in retirement is $198,209.76,” Cuomo continued. “The increase in our medical is $221,672. The retirement payouts for contract is $198,875.”
The total for the three items is $618,756.76, the superintendent said.
Those three items alone exceed the increase in the budget by over $100,000.
“That said, we have made significant cuts to get to this point,” Cuomo explained. “It still leaves us with a revenue shortfall of $752,115.”
Despite new state formulas geared to provide school districts with significant revenue increases in certain areas, Elk Lake’s increase is $43,000, he said.
“Salary increases were over $200,000 across the district,” Cuomo explained. “And when you start totaling these up, we can understand why we’re at where we’re at in regards to the revenue shortfall.”
Starting on Friday. Cuomo said, the administration will be looking through the summer at additional cuts to the budget to reduce the shortfall.
“It could include athletics and other programs,” he said. “It could include staffing. It could include possible revenue sources, like drivers ed.”
Cuomo thanked the board for its support and diligence to set aside money to meet times like this.
The superintendent also pointed out that the state budget has not yet been approved in Harrisburg.
“To be very blunt, we may be shooting at a moving target here,” he said.
If the state decides to roll back $50 million out of transportation, it could leave the district with an approximate additional $33,000 shortfall.
Board member Arden Tewksbury made the motion to approve the budget, even though he said they do not agree with all of it. Harold Bender seconded it, and the budget as approved unanimously.
Later, following adjournment as the Elk Lake School Board, and meeting as the Susquehanna County Career Technology Center board, it approved SCCTC’s budget of $5,280,433.
Cuomo explained that this is an increase of $96,576 over the 2016/2017 budget.
“The increase includes all the increases in retirements, all the increases in salaries. Everything,” Cuomo explained.
Because of this, major cuts had to be made at the career center as well, the superintendent said.
Included in the proposition is using $102,105 from committed funds, and $97,895 from the reserve fund.
In other business, the Elk Lake School Board:
*Accepted a report from high school Principal Brian Mallery, indicating that the following students have been chosen as class officers: Kaylee Eckert, President; Kaitlyn Konjola, Vice President; Kenneth Filer, Secretary; and Cheyenne Jenner, Treasurer. Class Advisors are Dr. Thomas Kotch and Tonya Boatman.
*Approved Policy 204 regarding attendance, in which three unexcused absences will be classified as ‘truant,’ and six unexcused absences will be classified as ‘habitually truant.’
*Approved Lori Evans as the board secretary at a salary of $5,200 per year.
*Cuomo reported that the Elk Lake school buildings and the SCCTC will be closed on July 3 and 4.
The next meeting of the Elk Lake School Board and the SCCTC will be on Wednesday, July 12, at 7 p.m.

Be the first to comment on "Elk Lake taxes heading up"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.