Taxes could increase under proposed budget

Shawn Hardy news@echo-pilot.com

The Greencastle-Antrim School District's preliminary 2019-20 budget was approved by the school board Thursday, May 2, and could include a 3-mill property tax increase.

The board also agreed to spend more to make it safer to cross Baltimore Street and appointed two administrators Thursday evening.


Even with a tax increase, the budget still has a nearly $1 million shortfall between $42,202,601 in expenditures and $41,452,601 in revenues.

In addition to the proposed tax increase, the budget as created with aggressive local revenue projections, a $217,705 basic education increase in the governor's budget and $56,000 more in special education funding, Dr. Jolinda "JC" Wilson, chief financial officer explained.

Wilson noted that the district surpassed $30 million in revenues in 2010 and will surpass $40 million 10 years later in 2020.

"This is the first year our revenues grew faster than our expenditures," said board member Tracy Baer. "We're still at a deficit, but we might be pulling through."

"This is by no means what the final budget has to be," said Wilson, who set June 6 for passage of the final budget.

A total of $505,000 in requests are built into the preliminary spending plan, including middle school classroom furniture, $45,000; transportation, vehicle purchase, $30,000; high school learning support teacher, $100,000; support staff retention plan, $115,000; digital resources and curriculum development, $15,000; instruction adviser, $15,000; and technology initiatives, $100,000.

There was no tax increase for the current year. If approved, the hike would take the property tax rate to 112.84 mills. A 3-mill increase would bring in an additional $630,000 for the district, Wilson said. She explained the increase would be $71 for the average G-A taxpayer with a home with a market value of $180,000.

Green Light-Go 

The board agreed to pay an additional $10,531.64 for the installation of rapid flashing beacons on Baltimore Street at Linden Avenue and Allison Street to make it safer for pedestrians in crosswalks.

The district and the Borough of Greencastle each previously put up $5,459.68 in matching funds for a $43,677 Green Light-Go grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

However, bids for the project came in at $75,000 or $20,000 higher than estimates.

"I think we have to," said board member Shannon Blanchard. "I see kids running for their lives."

Mike Still, board president, said he is not sure the flashing lights will make it better, but might be "a step in the right direction."

Greencastle Borough Manager Eden Ratliff was at the school board meeting and said the Borough of Waynesboro finds the lights effective.

"Students and adults can't get a false sense of security," said board member Pat Fridgen, explaining they need to make sure vehicles stop before crossing the street.


Two administrative appointments also were approved Thursday:

  • Michael McManus was named assistant principal at the middle school to replace Melissa Shuey, who is returning to the classroom.
  • Ginger Thompson was named director of special education, to replace JoAnn Papoutsis,who is retiring.