Thursday, October 8, 2020

Columbia school board plans to limit tax increase to 4.5%

When: Columbia Borough school board meeting, Oct. 6.

What happened: Keith Ramsey, chief of finance and operations, announced the district can raise real estate taxes up to 4.5% for the 2021-22 school year. That amount represents the state tax cap, or adjusted Act 1 index, assigned to the district.

Why it matters: The district's tax rate is currently 26.46 mills. For taxpayers who own a property assessed at $93,350, the district average, a 4.5% increase translates to an additional $111 per year. However, the district does not have to raise taxes by the full allowable amount.

What's next: The board expects to pass an opt-out resolution that limits the district from raising taxes above 4.5% next school year. If an opt-out resolution is approved, a preliminary budget will not be released for public inspection. The board will vote on a proposed final budget in May and adopt a final budget in June.

Expenses: The school district has spent over $50,000 on additional training, staff and technology. This includes $25,000 in diversity training, $18,000 for two technology interns, and $16,000 in new software. The majority of these expenses were covered by federal grant funds, Ramsey said. 

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