Proposed Property Tax Hike Cut to .73 Mills for NASD

Nazareth Area School District's preliminary 2013-14 budget now includes a property tax increase of .73 mills—down from .92 mills.

Nazareth school officials have managed to reduce the projected property tax increase for the upcoming school year.

And one new factor in the proposed spending plan is an unknown number of personnel cuts that equals $68,543.

Superintendent Dennis Riker, who said he is not ready to reveal whose jobs would be cut, reviewed the tweaks and updated numbers at Monday’s school board meeting.

The board tentatively adopted the 2013-2014 budget by a unanimous vote.

A property tax increase of .92 mills has been cut to .73 mills. The .92-mill increase translated into a $72 hike for the average Nazareth area property, district business manager Bernadine Rishcoff previously said.

The tax rate would be 49.28 mills, compared with 49.47 mills in the original budget. The current rate is 48.55 mills.

The revised budget total of $71.43 million is actually about $589,000 higher than the $70.84 million proposed in November. It also is 4.6 percent higher than the current budget.

Much of the $589,000 increase can be attributed to $600,000 in extra capital spending -- $300,000 each for technology and building and grounds. The extra $600,000 doubles the spending in each category from what was allocated in the original budget, Riker explained.

Other spending increases in the revised budget include about $75,000 for a Title I teaching position that was left out of the original spending plan and about $57,000 that reflects a slight increase in the district’s share of pension costs.

That share rose from 16.75 percent in the original budget to 16.93 percent in the revised plan, Rishcoff said.

Reducing the amount of anticipated revenue, meanwhile, is an extra $114,392 fund balance transfer.

But the higher spending and drop in revenue will be offset by spending reductions and added revenue. Some of those items include:

  • The $68,543 in personnel cuts.
  • Administrative cost savings of $38,881 that resulted when Isabel Resende was appointed assistant to the superintendent in December and Mark Madson was picked to fill her job as one of two directors of curriculum.
  • $27,511 in increased retirement revenue. Even though the district is facing the higher pension costs, it is reimbursed by the state for half of what it pays in.
  • A proposed $7,600 drop in the district’s share of Northampton Community College’s proposed budget.
  • $20,360 in additional revenue from real estate transactions.
  • $25,000 in savings from the district’s solar energy systems at the intermediate and middle schools.
  • A $229 drop in Shafer Elementary School’s budget.

Another savings listed in the revised budget is a $12,000 cut in what the district will have to spend for the Career Institute of Technology’s 2013-2014 budget.

CIT director Dr. Ronald Roth made a budget presentation to the board, which unanimously approved the $8.09 million spending plan for the vo-tech institution.

Raw numbers show Nazareth’s share declining just over $10,000 – the district’s revised share is $1.32 million.

Roth said the CIT budget shows a slight contribution decrease for all participating districts.

Responding to a question by Nazareth board president Lorin Bradley about how CIT is trying to cut costs, Roth said his school is not filling some positions or is waiting longer to fill positions. He also said the school, like the Nazareth district, has saved money from using solar energy.

The Nazareth district is scheduled to make the final presentation of its 2013-2014 budget on May 13, with final adoption set for May 20.


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