The South Western school board approved a final budget with a tax increase right under the state limit.
South Western taxpayers are facing a 2.05 percent property tax hike, a 0.34 mill rate increase.
That would set their tax rate next year at 16.89 mills, or about $34 higher for the owner of a $100,000 home.
Business manager Jeff Mummert said the $55.6 million budget is essentially the same as this past year's bare bones budget, just with a few add-ons.
The board decided to put $85,000 toward the purchase of a van and a bus with a wheelchair lift, while also donating $7,500 toward the Hanover Public Library.
Other expenses: Money toward band instrument purchases was kept, too, although $5,000 less than the typical $25,000 allotted in past years, Mummert said.
About $100,000 for technology was set aside, too, after holding off on
much-needed upgrades in recent years.
"Last year (2011-12), we gutted the budget. This year we said, 'Let's add a few things back in,'" Mummert said.
About $1.4 million in fund balance was used to help offset the $1.6 million deficit. There aren't any furloughs in the 2012-13 budget.
The budget does include the creation of one new teacher position, a full-time West Manheim Elementary teacher with a $47,029 salary.
Teachers agreed to take a full wage freeze in the coming year as part of their most recent contract, Mummert said, which saved South Western about half a million dollars.
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