HONESDALE—The Wayne Highlands School District (WHSD) Board of Directors passed the final budget for the 2019-2020 school year, Tuesday night, June 18, showing a 2.74 percent increase to $58,359,398.

The district notes increases to the budget are primarily due to increases to the Pennsylvania School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) Employer Contribution, health insurance rates, salaries and tuition.

Some reductions were made in the elimination of one teaching position due to enrollment, one support staff resignation with no replacement, and the replacement of four faculty retirements and one administrative assistant retirement.

With the addition of a new Cyber-Liason/Coordinator position and a new custodial position, net salary savings totaled $253,609.

2019-2020 tax rate

The finalized real estate tax was approved at 18.104 mills, an increase of 3.375 percent over the 2018-2019 school year.

Under the approved millage a property with assessed value of $100,000 will pay $1,810.40.

According to the district, this is an increase of $59.11 total or $4.93 per month over this year's taxes.

Other taxes, including per capita taxes, a real estate transfer tax and an occupation tax remain unchanged as compared to years passed.

Local taxes support over 64 percent of the district's budget, an increase of over four percent from the 2008-2009 school year.

In the same time, State contributions to the district's budget fell from 36 percent in 2008-2009, to an estimated 32.8 percent in 2019-2020.

A boon to taxpayers in the district, WHSD also approved on Tuesday the Homestead and Farmstead Resolution for the upcoming school year.

According to the resolution, WHSD was approved to received $1,153,939.84 in real estate tax reductions, funded through state gaming funds.

An additional amount totaling $9,444.86 was also approved to put toward reductions in the district.

For the 5,133 homesteads and farmsteads in the district--approved through the Wayne County Assessment Office before May 1 in accordance with Act 1, 53 P.S. § 6926.341(g)(3)--the maximum reduction was approved at $226.68.

As shown on one's tax notice, this represents a maximum reduction of $12,521 of assessed real estate value for approved homesteads and farmsteads in the district.