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Upper Darby High School

UPPER DARBY — The Upper Darby School Board will have its options as to how much to raise taxes for the 2019-20 school year before it votes on a final budget Tuesday night.

The board will hear the financial implications of raising taxes 1.9 or 2.3 percent, including how much of the fund balance will be used to further supplement the budget, during its finance and operations committee meeting Tuesday night. These tax increase options were suggested by a number of board members at their June 4 regular business meeting.

A proposed final budget was adopted last month with a 3 percent tax increase that would generate another $3 million in additional property tax revenue for the $213.1 million budget. Over $5.5 million in fund balance was assigned to balance that proposed final budget. More fund balance is expected to be used if the tax increase drops below 3 percent.

The district is looking at an over $8 million shortfall in its budget.

What isn’t shifting just yet is the amount of basic and special education funding from the state.

Chief Financial Officer Patrick Grant said Monday those funding streams have not changed, but the state has not passed a budget yet. The amount the state sends to the district (for the better) will not be known as the General Assembly continues to work on a $34 billion budget.

School Board President Rachel Mitchell on June 5 went to Harrisburg to advocate for more funding for the district.

Depending on the source, the district is underfunded by $15 to $19 million.

The district is no stranger to last-minute changes to its budget.

Last year, two local lawmakers announced the procurement of $3.5 million in legislative grants one day before the board was prepared to adopt its final spending plan.

In 2017, the board lowered a proposed tax increase by .1 percent just minutes before adopting a final budget.

During the doomsday budget for 2012-13 when the arts were to be cut from schools, the state gave an additional $2.7 million saving some positions that were originally furloughed.

Board discussion on the finals budget will occur during the finance and operations committee meeting, which will being after the education and pupil services meeting at 6 p.m. A special voting meeting to adopt the final budget will occur after the two aforementioned meetings.

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