As the Littlestown Area School District (LASD) proposed a school tax increase of one percent at its workshop meeting on Monday, parents and community members, many of them retirees, voiced their concerns. The tone of the meeting was tense throughout.
Many residents expressed grave concerns about any kind of increase to their property taxes that were the result of building remodeling. “While there may not be a good time, there would certainly be a better time to raise our taxes. With inflation and increasing costs, now is not the better time,” said one concerned community member; other speakers echoed concerns about a rise in gasoline prices and day-to-day cost of living expenses.
Parents and community members brainstormed various solutions to their concerns, from slicing district salaries that make up 70% of the current budget or asking teachers to forgo their annual raise.
The district said only about 20 percent of expenditures were under their control.
The district said expenses had been cut by $365,000 but that the tax increase was needed to meet current needs.
The cost of the proposed tax increase would be $1.08 per month for a property assessed at $100,000, $2.15 per month for a property assessed at $200,000, and $3.23 per month for a property assessed at $300,000.
Residents who are approved will receive an increase in the 2022-23 homestead/farmstead exclusion that will more than offset the proposed tax increase.
Board members expressed an array of emotions during the meeting, some expressing concern about a lack of transparency regarding the current proposal including the lack of a line-by-line breakdown of expenditures.
Other board members supported items in the proposed budget, especially those relating to mental health services. safety, and prevention.
The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be on May 16 at 7:00 pm.