Greensburg Salem School Board seeks to hold line on taxes and continue free lunches in high school

The Greensburg Salem School Board is expected to vote Wednesday on a proposed district budget for 2022-23 that would support $48.1 million in planned spending without raising taxes.

To cover these expenses, which reflect a 2% increase from this school year, the district may need to withdraw more than $658,000 from its fund balance. This is about $33,000 less than the amount taken this year from the fund balance, which is about $6.6 million.

With the school property tax remaining at 89.72 mills, local revenues should decrease by nearly $50,000, to $25.1 million. Federal revenue is expected to increase by about $754,000, to more than $3.2 million, while state revenue could increase by nearly $407,000, to about $20.1 million.

“There are still a lot of question marks, especially with state funding,” Superintendent Ken Bissell said during the budget presentation at this week’s school board meeting.

Business manager Joan Wehner said the proposed budget assumes the worst-case scenario of no increase in state grants for basic education or special education because Harrisburg officials have not decided on that funding. for the next year.

“We don’t know our public funding at this time,” she said. “That could change.”

Greensburg Salem continues to see a multi-year increase in federal funding through the Elementary-Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) program that aims to help schools and students recover from education disruptions during the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19.

Bissell said the district has until Sept. 30, 2024, to spend the remaining $7.7 million in its ESSER allocation.

Looking ahead, he said: “My biggest concern is for 2024-25. The ESSER funds are helping us now, but they will dry up that year, and our debt service will still be around $2.5 million.

As Wehner noted, debt service on outstanding bonds from 2020 is expected to fall to around $1 million the following year.

Bissell said ESSER funding is being used in 2022-23 to cover all replacement costs as well as to replenish and upgrade technology for students and in classrooms.

Some of the other things these funds can cover, he said, include ongoing HVAC upgrades, science lab equipment, furniture, mental health support for students and staff, and a health care program. summer to help students who have fallen behind in learning.

School board members said they want the district to continue serving free lunches to high school students next year after lunch fees were waived for them and other Greensburg Salem students for two years of the pandemic.

Council members responded positively to a report from contractor Nutrition Inc. indicating that the district’s food service program raised a funding surplus of $407,000 this year.

Jeff Himler is an editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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