Lehigh Valley

Tax hike in the works for Easton School District

The increase will not require state approval

EASTON, Pa. - It looks as though Eastonians will be paying a bit more in school taxes in the 2018-2019 academic year.

The Easton Area School District's (EASD) chief operating officer Tuesday released the initial version of the district's 2018-19 operating budget entitled "Budget 18-19 First Look," which calls for a 2.5 percent projected tax hike.

For the average Northampton County home assessed at $62,000, this amounts to an annual increase of $94.

According to EASD Chief Operating Officer Mike Simonetta, the new $154.9 million budget has increased five percent from the current school year, in the amount of $7.4 million. The district plans to spend $93.6 million on instruction, which includes $65 million on salaries, plus $43.5 million on support services, $2.5 million on non-instructional operations and $15.2 million on other expenses and financing.

He listed the major items driving the tax increase:

  • District employee salaries, retirement fund, and social security increases will rise by just under $4 million.
  • Funding for capital projects in year two will increase by $300,000. This includes the revamp of the Ada B. Cheston and Forks Elementary Schools.
  • A $1 million increase in charter school funding.
  • A $2.3 million carryover form the current budget to defray the cost of operating the intermediate unit.
  • The cost of hiring three to four new teachers (included above in the $4 million increase for employee salaries and benefits).
  • The 2.5 percent tax increase falls below the 3.1 percent maximum index allowed by the state.

The budget timeline contains a district target date of April 17 for adoption of the proposed budget. It will be made available for public inspection by May 22 with a final adoption occurring by June 30.

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