The Northeastern School Board approved a proposed final budget that would preserve some popular programs by raising taxes above the state cap and adding new athletic fees.
Northeastern is set to take a final budget vote next month after approving a proposal that includes a 3.1 percent tax hike of 0.76 mills.
That would increase taxes for a $150,000 homeowner by $114. Northeastern, with a proposed 25.02 mill rate, would continue to have the second-highest mill rate in the county behind York City.
The board approved the proposal 7-1, with K. Mike Redding dissenting. The budget would allow Northeastern to preserve full-day kindergarten and keep the high school pool open.
"There has definitely been an outpouring of support to keep the aquatics center open," said business manager Brian Geller.
Northeastern's tax cap was 2.3 percent, but the district has an exception to raise taxes as high as 3.6 percent. A 2.3 percent tax hike would cost a $150,000 homeowner $83 in additional taxes. But staying within the cap wouldn't create enough revenue to preserve desired programs, the district said.
Instead, Northeastern is planning on using the above-the-cap tax hike along with new fees to address the $2 million deficit in the $57 million proposed budget. Middle school Spanish was also cut.
Among the proposed fees:
-- A $50 activity fee per student for participation in at least one extracurricular activity.
-- Hiking ticket prices by $1. It would now cost adults $5 and students $3 per high school game. In addition, tickets would now be charged at junior high games: $2 for adults and $1 for students. Season ticket prices would go up $5 as well across the board.
"We were trying to find a way to retain our athletic programs in its current state," Geller said.
And to keep the aquatics program going, Northeastern is proposing to end its ongoing contract with the YMCA and run the program on its own.
The YMCA got to keep money from program fees charged to participants, Geller said, so the idea is now Northeastern can reap that revenue.
The proposal on how the new program would work will be unveiled at the 7 p.m. Monday, May 6, meeting in the Administration Center.
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