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WEST MIDDLESEX — Residents are not expected to see a tax increase for the upcoming school year at West Middlesex.

Approved unanimously by the West Middlesex School Board at their Tuesday meeting, the preliminary budget calls for a total expenditure of $16,805,395 for the 2019-2020 school year. Board members Ryan Gelesky and Andrew Erb were absent.

Though the projected total expenditures for 2019-2020 are an increase over the projected total expenditures of $15,859,511 in the 2018-2019 budget, West Middlesex schools Superintendent Raymond Omer said school officials have not yet proposed whether or not to increase taxes.

School officials are continuing to evaluate the year-end budget and will make a recommendation to the school board, Omer said.

“It’s a daily project from now until the budget is passed,” Omer said.

The Act 1 index could allow the West Middlesex Area School District to raise their taxes by about 2.14 mills, which would raise the tax millage to about 68.97 mills. For a residence in the West Middlesex Area School District with a median tax assessed value of $16,800, this would mean an annual tax increase of $35.95, according to school documents.

About 85 percent of the costs facing the district are fixed through benefits, wages and debt service, with possibly the largest challenge being a decline in enrollment, which Omer said reflects the larger loss of population affecting western Pennsylvania.

In order to avoid raising taxes and cutting costs, school officials are “leaving no stone unturned” when it comes to reviewing different contracts up for renewal with agencies that provide services to the district, as well as seeking non-traditional sources of revenue such as grants, Omer said.

“I have to thank all of our teachers, support staff, central office staff and department heads for coming together to look at specific departments to determine how we can adjust to the current budget trends,” Omer said.

The school board will have a final vote to approve the preliminary budget during their regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. June 24. A copy of the preliminary budget will be available for review in the central office.

Like David L. Dye on Facebook or email him at ddye@sharonherald.com.

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