WEST MIDDLESEX Second budget rejected

The board agreed to take more out of its savings to restore athletics and other student activities to the budget.
WEST MIDDLESEX, Pa. -- West Middlesex Area school directors didn't like the second version of a proposed 2001-2002 budget handed to them by the district administration.
Although it met the board's requirements calling for no more than a 5-mill property tax increase for operating expenses and no more than $250,000 to be taken from the district's fund balance, it was totally unacceptable, said Thomas Hubert, board president.
Superintendent Albert Jones had presented the board with a $10.7 million spending plan last month that called for a 29.8-mill property tax increase, which would have cost the average residential taxpayer about $180 more a year.
That budget included 9.8 mills to help pay off $ 8 million in elementary school renovation costs.
The board has no choice on paying the debt service but balked at the rest of the spending package, directing Jones to come back with a revised version.
Rejected again: He did that Wednesday, presenting a plan that would raise taxes 9.8 mills for debt service and 5 mills for operating expenses and take just $250,000 from the fund balance.
However, it also cut out all athletic programs and all other student activities, Hubert said.
The board is looking at a compromise, he said, noting it agreed to take an additional $200,000 from the fund balance (the equivalent of a school district savings account) to restore athletics and the other activities and then began whittling away at the budget line by line.
At this point, the district is looking at a 9.8-mill increase for debt service and between 7 and 10 additional mills for operating expenses, he said, noting the board will continue cutting the spending plan at a June 18 work session.

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