Property taxes in the Wayne Highlands School District (WHSD) are slated to rise 3.4 percent.

The Wayne Highlands School Board adopted its tentative 2010-11 budget at $42,603,536 at Tuesday night’s meeting, with a property tax millage rate of 13.57 mills.


Property taxes in the Wayne Highlands School District (WHSD) are slated to rise 3.4 percent.
The Wayne Highlands School Board adopted its tentative 2010-11 budget at $42,603,536 at Tuesday night’s meeting, with a property tax millage rate of 13.57 mills.

 

That means a property owner whose home is assessed at $100,000 would pay $1,357 in property tax, or an increase of $44.60 over the previous year.

 

Superintendent Tom Jenkins says the increases in the budget are primarily due to: salaries- $826,113; benefits- $483,815; pension system payments- $286,037 (a mandated contribution), a loss of Title II Federal funds amounting to $214,544, reduced interest income of $110,000 since interest rates are down, and increased transportation costs coupled with a transportation re-imbursement reduction from the state for a cost of $416,073.

 

The district employs about 400 people, including 250 teachers and approximately 150 other employees, which include administrators, supervisors and support staff.

 

Budget cuts
On the flipside, Jenkins says they’ve reduced spending by: not filling three teacher positions vacated by retirement, amounting to a savings of $248,673 plus two benefit packages, the replacement of other retiring teachers with new teachers at a savings of $719,403; conversion of one administrative position to a faculty position, saving $48,344; and through line-item reductions in school budgets, facilities expenses, extra curricular expenses and technology, totaling $435,094.

 

“We’re not cutting any programs. All student programs are continuing, but we’re going to operate on smaller budgets,” Jenkins said. “We’re reducing some of the expenses ...that could be waiting another year to replace some uniforms” and repairing rather than replacing certain sports equipment.

 

“Extra-curriculars include not only athletics, but also music, drama. So, we’re going to hold off ...on replacing some equipment,” he added. “I don’t know that the budget next year is going to look any better, it depends on what the state does.”

 

The tentative Homestead/Farmstead Exclusion for 2010 taxes is $208.07 for each qualifying property, and the tentative Homestead/Farmstead Exclusion for 2010 taxes is $416.14 for each qualifying property.

 

The tentative budget is available for review during normal business hours at the district office, as well as the Damascus and Preston Area Schools. Adoption of the final budget is set for the next board meeting, June 22.

 


Also discussed
The following retirements were accepted with regret:
• Dr. Rita Williams, Psychological Services and Special Projects Coordinator, an administrator for the district for 15.8 years and an educator for more than 38 years.
• Helen Adams, kindergarten teacher at the Damascus Area School, who has taught in the district for 40 years and has been a teacher for 55 years.
• Bonnie Beers, Remedial Reading Teacher at the Stourbridge Primary Center, has taught in the WHSD for 39 years.
• Mary Ann Flynn, Special Education Teacher at Honesdale High School (HHS), has taught in the district for 12 years.
• Noreen Kennedy, third grade teacher at Lakeside Elementary School, has taught in WHSD for 36 years.
• Joe Macey, Technology Education Teacher at HHS has taught in the WHSD for 35 years.
• Fay Woodmansee, Information Technology Teacher at the Damascus and Preston Area schools, has taught in the district for 32 years.
• Marion Kowalczyk, cafeteria employee at the Stourbridge Primary Center, has worked in the district for more than 17 years.

 

Teacher appointments for the 2010-11 school year:      
• Ryan Dressler, HHS math teacher.
• Kevin Kloss, HHS social studies teacher.
• Joe Kosciuk, HHS social studies teacher.
• Joe Mang, HHS Technology Education teacher.
• Lisa Vendor, HHS Family and Consumer Science teacher.