Federal Stimulus Funds Help Uniontown Pass Budget Without Tax Raise | New


The Uniontown area school board unanimously passed the district’s 2021-2022 operating budget on Monday without a tax increase, thanks, in part, to federal stimulus funds from last year.

The council voted 7-0 to approve the budget of $ 53.12 million and keep taxes stable at 16.64 million.

“It was always tough, but with the help of all the (federal stimulus) money we were able to get through this year without raising taxes,” said district affairs manager Sally Matthews, adding that she was concerned about the appearance of the upcoming budget. year after the exhaustion of those federal funds. “Without those, we certainly would have had to (raise taxes). “

The district has used more than $ 6 million in federal CARES and American Rescue Plan funds to help balance the budget.

Most of the budget will go to district staff, which is estimated at around $ 20 million. An additional $ 5.17 million will be spent on health insurance for employees and retirees.

But a growing cost to the district is the state’s retirement program, as well as payments to cyber schools and special education programs, Matthews said. The board of directors of the state’s public school employee retirement system voted in December to increase the contribution rate from 34.59% in 2020-2021 to 34.95% next fiscal year, which begins on 1st of July.

“This is definitely one of the most important things,” Matthews said of the hike in pension contributions. “There are a lot of difficulties in the school budget. One of the main ones are cyber schools.

Payments to e-schools are budgeted at $ 2.3 million next year, which Matthews has called “exorbitant” and a budget item that continues to grow as it shifts students and resources out of the way. district to alternative education options.

“It’s a big strain on our budget,” she said.

Special education is expected to cost $ 1.94 million, while the vo-tech post is expected to cost $ 1.4 million. Transportation will cost nearly $ 3.6 million next year.

Meanwhile, the school board has also set the homestead and farm property exclusion tax rebate at $ 214.42 for qualifying landowners.

Board members Dorothy Grahack and John Holt did not attend Monday night’s meeting.

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