No new school taxes during the 2021-22 school year for Chambersburg Area School District (CASD) property owners.. That’s the message this week from the CASD school board.
The board approved a proposed $160 million preliminary budget Tuesday with a property tax rate of 118.9296 mills. That’s a 0% tax increase over last year; and a move that has become unusual for the county’s largest school district. Tax rates remain stable, with no new, or increase, in school taxes.
The proposed budget is the first in a multi-step process leading up to finalizing the budget next month.
District taxpayers can probably thank the current pandemic, at least in part, and the federal government’s pandemic relief programs for the stable tax rate.
Affecting the tax rate
The proposed final budget forecasts $155,368,293 in revenue and expenditures, with a total spending authority of $160,367,293. Tuesday’s presentation included a number of factors that district staff believe will allow CASD to continue to provide quality education to students without the need for a tax increase.
Those factors include:
- A growing tax base. The Chambersburg area continues to experience growth, resulting in a larger assessment base that increases revenue.
- Anticipated Savings during 2020-2021 fiscal year. Primarily attributed to employee attrition and departmental cost savings, the District anticipates a net savings of over $2.4 million.
- Help from the federal government. Through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, part of the CARES Act.
CASD anticipates the receipt of $11,400,000 in ESSERII funds. A portion of the one-time federal funds, $3 million, will offset existing planned expenditures. The remaining funds are allocated for additional one-time expenditures during the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
The one-time federal funds provide emergency relief to address the impact that COVID-19 has had on elementary and secondary schools across the United States.
Dr. Dion Betts, Superintendent of Schools at CASD, formed a “Future of Learning Group” to determine potential projects for the third round of COVID relief – ARP ESSER funds.
The group contains a wide variety of stakeholders throughout the district who aim to align the funds with district goals while following specific ARP ESSER spending guidelines.
The District still expects to get amother $22, 590,950 as part of the ARP ESSER funding. Those funds could be used through September 30, 2024.
The board is expected to finalize the 2021-22 budget at its June 8 meeting.