Upper Adams School District (UASD) board voted to propose the 2021-2022 school year budget and heard updates to the district’s anti-racism plan Tuesday.
Proposal was approved unanimously for the tentative UASD 2021-2022 school year operating budget including a 2.1% tax increase.
The board voted 8-0 with board member Ed Ponce absent.
The budget is proposed as presented by district Business Manager Shelley Hobbs previously in May, including a raised tax rate from this year’s 15.3167 mills to 15.6383 mills.
During public comment, resident Chuck Stump expressed concern the proposed budget would result in an over $300 tax increase for the average district property and mentioned previous year’s tax increases did not allocate from the fund balance.
Board President Tom Wilson cited his own research into the budget, saying the preliminarily approved 2021-2022 budget with a 2.1 percent tax increase, “represents three of the last four years where we raised taxes less than the Act 1 Index.”
“It’s import that we all know, when we approve a budget, we are impacting people’s lives,” Wilson said.
Due to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania still adopting its own budget, the UASD’s proposed budget had “absolutely no information on what the state revenue will be,” nor data from federal funding, according to Wilson. The proposed budget lists these statistics listed the same as the current year, according to Hobbs previously.
“The fact is you can’t predict the unpredictable,” Wilson said.
Wilson commended the work of the administration and staff for their diligence in financial fine-tooth combing.
“Budget planning is a process that never stops…I congratulate everyone on the board. This is a very, very difficult decision we make every year,” he said.
Final adoption vote for the budget, including the proposed 2.1 percent tax increase, is set for the June 15 board meeting, “at that point we can lower that, but we cannot raise it,” Wilson said.
Anti-Racism Plan Updates
The executive summary of the Fox Rothschild independent investigation is now located under the Anti-Racism Plan section of the school district website. The district is currently reviewing the recommendations for the best community choices, a procedure District Superintendent Wesley Doll described as a “layered process,” and “a long-term approach.”
The district’s recent training on unconscious bias and student identity and intersectionality can also be found on the website, Doll said.
In other business, the district is preparing a return to normality as facilities are arranging to be open for summer use following safety guidelines, according to Doll.