BASD is considering a slight increase in taxes to balance its budget | News, Sports, Jobs


BELLEFONTE — As the Bellefonte Area School District heads toward the finish line of its 2022-23 budget, the school board has received another update from Ken Bean, the district’s director of fiscal affairs.

Bean made an updated presentation at Tuesday night’s board meeting. According to Bean, the district’s estimated revenue will be $54,485,000 while total estimated expenses are $57,260,000. The district will be forced to draw down its fund balance to the tune of $2,785,000. This will leave the fund balance at $3,996,023.

The tax mileage rate is 51.2078 or 1.5% – a slight decrease from the last budget update. As a result, residents of the Bellefonte area school district can expect a property tax increase of 1.5%. This translates to an increase of about $50 for the average homeowner.

As Bean pointed out, however, that’s just one option on the table. With the tax mileage rate of 1.5%, no funds are set aside for future building repairs and/or renovations (separate from the elemental project).

“I am happy to say that we have now reduced it to a 1.5% increase,” said Bean. “We did it by cutting health insurance by $100,000. I thought we had that in there, but until I got some numbers from Capital Blue Cross…I confirmed that, so we were able to narrow that down. We were able to massage some of the income items and find another $50,000, which got us to where we are today.

However, before approving the budget next month, the board should consider a few other options:

Option 2 would see the mileage rate set at 2.0%, which would set aside $130,000 for future repairs and/or renovations to the building (again, separately from the elemental project).

Option 3 would see the mileage rate set at 2.5%, which would set aside $250,000 for future building repairs and/or renovations (again, separately from the elemental project).

One area Bean talked about at length was food service. During this school year, the district had restoration expenses in the amount of $1,660,000. The net profit is $100,000. However, Bean said it’s difficult to determine what the 2022-23 school year will look like.

“The difficulty with this budget is to predict what will happen after the last two years. Hopefully we’ll have a full year of students in the cafeteria. All free lunches are gone. So we’ll be back to – I hesitate to say this – normal. What is more normal? What it was before, let’s put it this way…we’ll see what happens with our sales and our costs and so on,” said Bean.

The board is expected to adopt the final version of the budget at the school board meeting on Tuesday, June 14.

In other matters on Tuesday evening, the council:

– Held a moment of silence for those killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.

— I heard a presentation on a drone research program. The program was a collaboration between fifth-grade students at Pleasant Gap Elementary School and Penn State University.

— I heard a presentation from high school administrators. The presentation was titled “Bellefonte Area High School Year in Review.”

— I heard a presentation on the high school science curriculum.

— Heard a second reading of many policies, including: 135 (parental permission for research/investigations involving students recommended for retirement), 235.1 (investigations), 239 (international exchange students), 240 (recommended awards for retirement ), 241 (early withdrawal of students to attend college – recommended for retirement), 243 (academic integrity – recommended for retirement), 912.1 (research involving students and district personnel).

– Heard by Superintendent Tammie Burnaford about Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s visit to Marion-Walker Elementary School last week.

The school board will meet again at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14, at Bellefonte Area College. The meeting is open to the public and will be recorded by C-NET.

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