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UPSD Taxpayers Facing Increase
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2024-05-15

            Taxpayers in the Upper Perkiomen School District are likely facing an increase for the upcoming school year. Last week, the board voted to approve the proposed final budget for the 2024-25 school year with a 7.34 percent tax increase.

            The proposed budget, totaling $80.981 million – approved unanimously during the May 9 regular meeting – includes an average tax increase for Montgomery County property owners of $297.48. A Berks County property owner would pay an additional $175.22, according to a presentation by Drew Bishop, the district's business administrator.

            "None of us are happy with this proposal," Member Keith McCarrick said prior to the vote. "Unfortunately, this is the price of doing business in the district."

            The tax hike is necessary to make up a $4.061 million deficit.  The budget proposal – which calls for a five percent millage increase – includes a $10,382 decrease in expenditures from the current budget and a $2.6 million increase in revenues, according to Bishop's presentation.

            Two of the budget's largest expenditures increases include an 8.8 percent hike in salaries (from $29.199 million to $31.769 million) and a 12.8 percent expansion in benefits ($17.31 million to $19.532 million). The increases are necessary to fund the creation of nine new positions, some of which are professional staff, according to board President Melanie Cunningham. The budget also projects a 29.4 percent increase in the spending for special education/pupil services (from $4.198 million to $5.433 million).

            Board members will continue to examine the budget. Changes will be discussed during two upcoming finance committee meetings, scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday and 6 p.m. on June 17.

            "It's ugly," Cunningham said of the budget, to Bishop, following his presentation. "But I'm confident that you are working on it."

            The members are expected to ratify the final budget on June 20 during their workshop meeting. Until then, the proposed budget will be available for public inspection for 30 days on the district's website and at the Education Center, located at 2229 East Buck Road in Upper Hanover.

            The board honored six students at the Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center, 77 Graterford Road, Limerick Township. Megan Browning, Porter Fryauff, Omar Gazi, Abigail Gray, Skylar Keenan and Rachael Zaw each received National Technical Honor Society Recognition.

            In personnel news, the members accepted resignations of two employees. They include Jessica Harward, a cafeteria/playground aide, effective May 31, and Judy Mendez, a Spanish teacher. The board also approved a leave of absence for Jennifer Unruh and Judy Sledgen through the end of the school year, and Gail Feather, through May 21; and James Coleman is returning on or about June 4.

            The members approved Justin Wampole as a bus driver. Radeen Cochran, a retired elementary librarian, received a Distinguished Service Award from the Class of 2021.

            According to Solicitor Michael D. Kristofco, the board met in executive session, virtually, May 1 for the purpose of consulting with legal counsel over a matter of security. He also said the members met immediately prior to the public meeting to discuss a matter of litigation involving a tax assessment appeal.


 

 

 

 

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