Compromise tax increase proposed for U-CF

A new proposed final budget for the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District is on the table. There’s still a tax increase, but not quite as much as had been considered earlier.

School board directors voted 6-3 during their May 16 meeting to have a proposed final budget with a tax increase of 2.77 percent, weighted between Chester and Delaware counties. As recently as last week, directors were talking about a weighted increase of 2.88 percent based on the recommendation from the administration.

According to district Business Manager Bob Cochran, Chester County property owners would pay 27.72 mills — an increase of 2.70 percent — while those in Chadds Ford would pay 23.59 percent — an increase of 3.06 percent. (A mill is a tax of $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value.)

Anticipated expenses remain $82.5 million.

Settling on the 2.77 percent increase came after a proposal that was even lower, 2.47 percent.

Superintendent John Sanville said that was possible by finding other areas of revenue — an increase in state funding through the basic education funding formula — and savings. Those savings occurred through additional retirements, a reduction in the funding of a strategic plan, and the use of the $193,000 reserve in the district’s fund balance.

“Now you have a discussion wrapped around what to do with those found funds,” Sanville told the board.

However, after discussion, during which several directors expressed reluctance to use the fund balance, Board President Vic Dupuis said there were three options for the board to consider.

One was to keep to the original proposal, which called for the 2.88 percent increase and would add money to the fund balance. A second option would be to use the fund balance and drop the tax increase to 2.47 percent. A third option was to increase taxes by 2.77 percent and not take or add to the fund balance.

Director Gregg Lindner proposed the third option, which passed. The numbers could change again before the board votes to approve the final budget. That vote is scheduled for the June 20 meeting.

In other money matters, the board approved spending $53,000 to remove carpeting from Hillendale, Pocopson and Unionville Elementary schools and to spend almost $125,000 for supplies for the 2016-2017 school year.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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