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Harrisville school budget would raise levy by 2.94 percent

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HARRISVILLE — The Harrisville Central School District’s tentative budget would increase the tax levy by 2.94 percent.

“The board and I believe it’s a responsible budget for the community,” said District Superintendent Rolf A. Waters.

The tentative budget would increase spending by $265,936, from $9,258,259 to $9,524,195. That’s a 2.87 percent increase.

The proposed tax levy, or amount to be raised by property taxes, is set at $3,444,221, up $98,364 from $3,345,857 in 2012-13.

Exact tax rates will not be available until town tax rolls are done in August.

The district could have raised its levy by as much as 3.5 percent without having to override the state tax cap, Mr. Waters said.

Overall state and federal aid is projected to increase by $158,200, from nearly $5 million to $5.15 million.

The tentative budget would use $540,000 from fund balance to offset taxes, up slightly from $525,000 this year.

“We saved all of our programs,” Mr. Waters said.

The district plans to bring back a second session of pre-kindergarten due to higher enrollment, but state pre-K funding should cover the added the expense, he said.

Salaries for teachers and support staff were kept stable in the proposed budget, since both groups’ labor contracts expire in June and new agreements are still being negotiated, Mr. Waters said.

The district has seen some savings over the past couple of years from several retirements, given that their replacements tend to start out at lower salaries, he said.

“We had a more veteran staff,” Mr. Waters said.

However, employee benefits are still projected to increase by $175,914, from $2.45 million to $2.62 million.

Fuel and electricity costs are projected to remain stable.

The budget vote is slated for 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the cafeteria.

District residents also will be asked to authorize the purchase of a bus for up to $104,000. The Harrisville Public Library is requesting an increase in its annual school tax levy funding from $35,000 to $40,000, so that proposal will also be on the ballot.

Incumbent Board of Education members Denise Avallone and Cynthia Bancroft and challenger Susan Ward are running for a pair of five-year board seats.

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