At Thursday's meeting, the West Jefferson Hills school board adopted a final budget of $40.3 million for the 2013-14 school year that raises taxes for the first time since 2008.
The increase in the real estate tax is 0.39 mills. That means the owner of a home appraised at $100,000 will pay $39 more next year.
The 2012-13 millage rate is 21.08 mills. After the Allegheny County property reassessments, the revenue neutral rate became 17.714 mills. By adding the tax increase to it, the new millage rate becomes 18.104 mills.
The tax increase will generate $480,000 more for the district, most of which will go toward the Thomas Jefferson High School project.
The board has yet to decide whether to renovate the existing 53-year-old high school building or build a new structure. Cost estimates range from $60 million to $73 million.
"This modest increase will assist in planning for the district's future growth," director of finance Tracy Harris said.
A portion of the new revenue will go toward increases in pension costs and contractual salary increases.
The vote to adopt was 8-0, with board member Shauna D'Alessandro absent.
While there are no furloughs or program cuts in the new budget, the board voted last night to eliminate the position of communications consultant.
The district is looking to go in a new direction regarding communications, acting superintendent Michael Panza said after the meeting.
Mr. Panza, who becomes the district's superintendent on July 1, said he would like to see increased utilization of social media.
"Kids get their information differently today. We need to change with the times," he said.
By Margaret Smykla, freelance writer: email@example.com