2017-2018 Final Operating Budget Adoption
Hatboro-Horsham School Board Approves 2017-2018 Final Operating Budget:
The Hatboro-Horsham School Board approved the 2017-2018 School Year Final Budget at its June 19th, 2017 School Board meeting, a spending plan that will continue to help the district provide high quality education programs at a reasonable cost to the community.
The School Board, administration and staff have worked very hard over the past ten months to develop a budget that is cost conscious and educationally sound, and have faced some significant challenges due to the requirements of Act 1 (Pennsylvania Taxpayer Relief Act) and anticipated future costs involving retirement benefits and facility improvements. Despite these difficulties, Hatboro-Horsham School District has been able to maintain an average annual tax increase over the last seventeen years that is the third lowest of the 21 school districts in the county. On average, taxes have increased approximately 2.57% annually over this period. The district’s overall average budget or expenditure increase over that same period has been the second lowest of the 21 school districts in the county.
The Final Approved 2017-2018 spending plan totals $103,519,211, a $3,472,385 increase (3.47%) from last year’s budget. To balance the budget, the School Board agreed to raise the millage rate from 27.487 to 28.141 an increase of 2.38% percent, one of the lowest increases over the past fifteen years. The new millage rate will mean the average Hatboro taxpayer’s real estate bill will go up by about $79.70 while the average Horsham taxpayer’s real estate bill will go up by about $118.47. The increase for every $100,000 in assessed property value will be about $65.
This year, under the terms of Act 1, all school districts were required to keep their tax increases at or below a state index, which was set at 2.5%. Districts that needed to go above that index could seek exceptions or voter approval to do so. Through continued conservative fiscal management, Hatboro-Horsham was able to keep its increase at or below the index for the eleventh year in a row since the inception of the ACT I Index.
Overall, the increases in the budget come from projected salaries and benefit costs, fuel and utility costs, facility maintenance requirements, educational programming needs, and technology replacement costs. Although difficult to manage in many cases, conservative budget formulation and aggressive cost containment strategies have helped keep these costs in check for the upcoming year. This budget development cycle was especially challenging due to significant cost increases in the area of special education and the continuing cost increases associated with the PSERS pension program.