Penns Manor high school sign

KENWOOD — By 6-3 votes Thursday night, the Penns Manor Area School District’s board of education approved a $17,884,715 budget for the 2019-20 academic year and a 0.466-mill real estate tax increase to 14.176 mills.

It is a 3.3 percent increase, the state Act 1 maximum, that raises the tax by 4.66 cents to $1.41 on every $100 of assessed valuation of taxable property.

As examples, the tax bill for a property valued at $90,000 would be $41.94 more, for a total of $1,275.84 for 2019-20. The owner of a property assessed at $125,000 would see an increase of $58.25 for a tax bill of $1,772. A home worth $200,000 would be taxed $2,835.20, an increase of $93.20 from last year.

It follows a 3.5 percent tax increase in 2018-19, which also was within the Act 1 limit as set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The budget shows a $95,424 revenue deficit that would be balanced with cash carried over on June 30 when the current year ends.

School Director Ronald Larch continued a tradition of voting no for tax increases as well as the overall budget. Directors Richard Polenik and Debora Tate joined him.

Voting yes were board President Robert Packer, Vice President Ronald Belichick and directors Dr. Paul Boston, Jill Eckenrode, John Hardesty Sr. and John Sutila.

Votes were unanimous on:

• A 0.75 percent tax on earned income received and net profits.

• A 1 percent real estate transfer tax.

• Two $5 per capita taxes, one established in Section 679 of the state Public School Code, the other in Local Tax Enabling Act 511, both for every resident 18 years of age and older.

• A $173.63 maximum reduction on taxes on each approved homestead and farmstead.

The board was unanimous in retaining Ronald J. Saffron for a one-year term as district solicitor at a $3,500 retainer and hourly rate of $75, with fees to be negotiated for work related to issuing and/or refunding bonds, notes and other obligations.

But Larch and Polenik dissented in 7-2 votes for new agreements through Dec. 31, 2021, with Business Manager Joshua Muscatello and Assistant Business Manager Nicole Peterson.

Muscatello will get a 3.5 percent raise on July 1, and another 3.5 percent raise on Jan. 1, 2021.

Peterson will get a 2.75 percent raise on July 1, then another 2.75 percent raise on Jan. 1, 2021.

Other matters, all by unanimous votes, included:

• Renewing Jason Miloser’s contract as athletic director for 2019-20 at an annual base salary of $5,500.

• Making permanent through 2021-22 at $1,424.56 per year what had been Scott Lowry’s interim post during the past year as chairman of the Vocational Department.

• Posting vacancies for leaders for elementary English Language Arts and Social Studies curriculums.