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School Board Surprises With Zero Tax Increase

By Wayne Witkowski

WESTFALL — One thing is certain for the Delaware Valley School District Board of Directors: expect the unexpected.
After three months of analysis and departmental budget reviews under the impression of an inevitable tax increase, the board passed the 2023-2024 budget 7-2 on Thursday night last week ... with no tax increase.
Only board President Jack Fisher, who has platformed for a tax increase up into the 3 mills range, and Brian Carso dissented in the vote.
Following the urging of board member Dawn Bukaj at the previous week's work session, board members carved away at line items instead of initiating one big money grab from a reserve fund that must be replenished in the upcoming years or diverting money from capital improvements funds.
They came up with a balanced budget at $94,968,383 and a millage rate holding at 117.83.
Last year's budget was $92,949,041 but inflation, particularly in energy costs, and a 3.5 percent salary increase for teachers from the first of a three-year collective bargaining agreement figured in the higher budget.
It is the fourth time in six years that the district budget calls for a zero tax increase on property owners living in the district.
"What I like best about the budget is seeing board members collaborating, working together on this to get these results," said Superintendent Brian Blaum.
The budget goes on public display for 30 days, and was placed on the district website over the weekend. It goes to an approval vote at the board's next monthly meeting on June 15, starting at 6 p.m. at the district administration building. There will be a work session for the board at 6 p.m. on June 8. School budgets must be finalized around the state by June 30.



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