Tax hike supports school budget

Shawn Hardy news@echo-pilot.com

The Greencastle-Antrim School Board approved the 2019-20 budget, supported by a 3-mill property tax increase at last week's meeting.

The board also accepted the resignation of Dr. Jolinda "JC" Wilson, chief financial officer.

The budget 

Even with the tax hike there is a $950,000 shortfall between revenues of $41,340,830 and expenditures of $42,262,601, Wilson explained. The gap will be lessened with $750,000 from capital reserves.

However, she added the district seems to have turned a corner and "revenues are growing faster than expenditures."

"We always want to keep up with the cost of things," Wilson said, adding it is hard to keep up in years when taxes are not raised.

A total of $505,000 in requests are built into the 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.

The district did not raise taxes for the current fiscal year.

The 3-mill increase raised the tax rate from 109.84 mills to 112.84 mills. It will generate about $650,000 for the district and cost a typical taxpayer, with a home with a market value of $180,000, just over $70 more a year.

"I still think it's too much. I'm so anti-tax this is a tough pill to swallow," said board President Mike Still, who voted against raising taxes, along with board member Lindsey Mowen.


Earlier in the meeting, Wilson's resignation was among the personnel items approved by the board.

She has spent 15 years in K-12 education, coming to the G-ASD from the Central Fulton School District.

Wilson said she has had seven wonderful years in Greencastle.

Dr. Kendra Trail, who took the helm of the G-ASD two years ago, thanked Wilson for everything she has done for the district and "me personally during the transition."

Wilson, whose resignation is effective July 31, is becoming director of finance for the student affairs department of Penn State.

"It's a really neat opportunity with challenges," Wilson said.

Trail said advertising already has started for the position. She would like to have someone before Wilson leaves for transitional time, "but I don't know if that is realistic."