The North Allegheny School Board next week will consider a final budget that keeps revenue neutral.
The tax rate will decrease from 20.92 mills to 17.4039 mills to reflect the Allegheny County property reassessment. The $131 million spending plan covers some expenses proposed by the administration, but not all of them.
The budget provides for the first phase of security upgrades, as well as upgrades to the technology infrastructure. It also allows for additional teachers if needed to lower class sizes at the elementary level, but does not include money for two additional elementary counselors that were requested by the guidance department.
It also does not put money aside to fund future increases in the district's contribution to the state retirement system.
At their work session Wednesday, some board members wanted to see taxes go even lower. Libby Blackburn and Linda Bishop, who was absent but sent in a prepared statement, advocated a tax rate of 16.9 mills. That rate would allow North Allegheny to remain as one of the five lowest millage rates in the county.
"I think the millage rate can be more important than people are realizing. When we were voted one of best communities in the United States, it wasn't just the school district, but people who are moving into our area who don't have any children. They are looking at strictly taxes, the millage rate," Mrs. Blackburn said. "We do want to keep our taxes as low as humanly possible."
A majority of board members, however, said they would support the higher millage rate.
"If we don't fund education at a reasonable level, property values will decrease," Dan Hubert said.
At 17.4039 mills, the owner of a house that is assessed at $200,000 will pay $3,480.78 in taxes.
The board will vote on the budget June 26.
Sandy Trozzo, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org