The Conrad Weiser School Board passed a preliminary budget Wednesday that would require the district's first tax increase in three years.
But while several other districts are struggling with large deficits, Conrad Weiser's preliminary budget's gap would be covered by a 1.3-mill tax increase.
The proposed 5 percent increase would raise the tax to 25.62 mills from 24.32. The tax bill on a property assessed at $100,000 would increase to $2,562 from $2,432.
The $41.1 million budget includes no conferences for staff, a 10-percent cut in administration spending and eliminating special education placements. Also cut are aides funded by federal stimulus money and a $100,000 budget reserve.
The budget anticipates a 14 percent decrease in state education funding.
That could change when the state releases next year's education spending level, which is expected in March.
Board President M. Todd Bray said there still might be some harsh cuts before the final budget is adopted.
The preliminary budget passed 7-2. Bray and William R. Sheeler voted no.
Bray was one of several board member who objected to the state's mid-February deadline for districts to approve preliminary budgets.
"I think its ridiculous for us to approve our budget when the state hasn't approved theirs," he said after the meeting.
Sheeler voted against the budget because the millage increase was caused by the teachers contract approved in September. He called the three-year contract too generous.
The contract froze wages in the first year and included small salary increases in the other two years. It also required teachers to pay a percentage of health insurance costs instead of a flat rate.
Contact Erin Negley: 610-371-5047 or firstname.lastname@example.org.