Fort Cherry School Board voted to pass a final budget of $15,879,071 during the June 24 meeting, increasing school taxes in the district by a rate of 2.5 mills. The finalized budget represents an increase of $129,522 from the proposed budget and an overall increase of $254,522 from last year’s budget.
Paul Sroka, Fort Cherry business manager, said the increased rate of 121 mills was necessary to help implement a number of improvements to school curriculum and infrastructure. He noted this was the fist increase in millage in the district in seven years.
According to Washington County tax officials, the median home assessment in the district is $7,502. The median homeowner would pay about $908 in annual school taxes per year, an increase of almost $19 from last year.
At roughly $7.3 million, salaries accounted for the largest cost in the school district, followed by almost $3.9 million in benefits.
$6.3 million of the budget comes from state subsidies and the district should receive roughly $5 million in real estate taxes during the 2012-13 school year.
Administrators hoped to complete projects that would replace a portion of the roof at the elementary center, install carpet in both the elementary and high school buildings and provide a new track and field facility. The board is looking at the possibility of funding a $4,000,000 bond issue to pay for the construction projects.
In addition to construction costs, Sroka said the district would restore the Reading Recovery program, which offers reading tutoring to students, to a full-time program. A full-time high school reading and elementary teachers would also be added to thestaff. Sroka said the budget also comes with a $50,000 contingency to allow for unexpected costs.