Hampton Township school board holds special meeting to vote on preliminary budget

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Hampton Township school board voted unanimously at a special meeting tonight to keep any tax increases to fund the district's $44.4 million 2013-14 budget within its Act 1 index of 2 percent.

What this means to taxpayers is that any millage rate increase could be no more than 2 percent of property values. Since many homeowners are appealing the recent county reassessments, these values could change before this proposed preliminary budget is finalized in the spring.

The purpose of the special meeting was to meet the Act 1 index constraints. In addition, the board unanimously accepted the June 30, 2012, audit presented today by Peter Vancheri of the accounting firm Hosack, Specht, Muetzel & Wood of Pittsburgh.

"The district is very well run from an accounting standpoint," Mr. Vancheri told board members. The entire 100-plus page audit report can be viewed on the district's website.

For the proposed preliminary budget planning, the board also unanimously approved a transfer of $2 million from the district's unassigned fund balance to the PSERS stabilization fund. As of June 30, 2012, the district had a $5.7 million fund balance and Jeff Kline, director of administrative services, told board members that voting to move this money does not lock it in. They can decide to move the money in future budget votes.

However, the board's unanimous decision to transfer $700,000 from the general fund to the capital projects fund is final. That money can only be used on capital improvement projects. Just what those projects will be will be discussed at the February meeting of the district's facilities committee.

Currently, the proposed preliminary budget shows a shortfall of about a half million dollars but future events such as state funding and teacher retirements could help close the gap. "These are not what I would predict are the final numbers," Mr. Kline told the board.

education - neigh_north

Rita Michel, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com


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