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School Board Cuts Tax Hike in Half

Lower Merion School District's proposed final budget for 2012-2013 includes no layoffs or discontinued programs, the board president said.

taxpayers now face a 2 percent tax hike for next year, down from the , after the school board unanimously approved a 2012-2013 budget revision Monday night.

Final approval of the budget is due by June 15. The 1.99 percent increase would be the smallest in recent memory, board president Diane DiBonaventuro said, but would still allow the board to avoid making particularly unpleasant decisions.

"This budget brings no cuts to our programs and no cuts to our teaching staff," DiBonaventuro said. "We really are working very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. If we do find ourselves in tighter circumstances down the road, I would hate to see that happen."

In January, the district netted $3.3 million in savings from a bond sale and subsequent payoff to year-2002 bond holders. That money helped reduce the tax increase, business administrator Vic Orlando said. The rate comparison is shown in the following table. 

Year 2010-2011 2011-2012

2012-2013  (old)

2012-2013 (new) Bill for $250K house $5,572 $5,757 $5,982 $5,871 Annual increase N/A $185 $225 $114

Board members Gary Friedlander and Jerry Novick noted that retirement payments continue to cost the district more each year.

"We don't get a holiday from that next year," Novick said, alluding to January's bond savings. "We should start focusing on that sooner rather than later."

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