PHOENIXVILLE — When the Phoenixville School Board votes Tuesday on setting the new tax rate, it will be based on a budget that was approved last month and will raise property taxes by 2.23 percent.
The $94,513,605 budget for 2019-2020 was approved May 16 in a 7-2 vote, with board members Lori Broker and David Golberg voting no.
The budget represents a spending increase of $2,842,253 over the current year's budget and includes money for full-day kindergarten, which will be implemented for the first time in the coming school year.
For the average residential property in the district, which is assessed at $135,000, the budget will represent an annual increase of $92 over the current average school tax bill of $4,120, according to Christopher Gehris, the district's director of finance.
The tax hike of 2.23 percent is less than the Act 1 index of 2.3 percent, the maximum tax hike allowed by the state without a public referendum.
No reserve funds were used to balance the budget, according to Gehris.
In addition to full-day kindergarten, Gehris said the budget also adds the following positions:
- Additional special education positions (based on student need)
- Secondary Assistant Principal Intern (split between HS & MS)
- Additional ELD (English Language Development) position
- A strings position
- A dance position at the HS/MS
- 2 instructional coaches
Sandra Claus, the district's community relations coordinator noted that other impacts of the new budget include:
- An elementary STEM program
- $500,000 in savings/realignments of teaching staffing
- Reduction of elementary math and science liaisons
- Reduction of district coordinators
- Realignment of after-school tutoring
- Reduction of charter cyber school costs by 20 percent
- Custodial efficiencies
- Busing efficiencies
- Booster Club contributions.
In an email, she also noted, "the administration had recommended a 2.1 percent increase in the budget presented, but the board chose to put the $30,000 funding for the Phoenixville Public Library back into the budget, raising it to 2.23."