ON THE NET
Find links to maps of the new boundaries for Hazleton Area schools below, after the sidebar on Budget Issues.
Hazleton Area School Board members who attended a budget meeting Monday learned that the district is expected to save at least $1.4 million in health insurance costs over the amount previously budgeted for next school year.
Business Manager Tony Ryba said Sara Picard, the health care consultant with Millennium Administrators that the school board hired in September, has been negotiating with area pharmacies and health plan administrators to lower costs.
Even with those savings, the district still will be facing a $7.6 million deficit comparing total expenditures of $134.2 million to total revenue of $126.6 million based on the projected state and federal funding and current property tax millage rates.
Much of the deficit is due to the planned hire of about 50 teachers to address school district overcrowding and an increase in English as a Second Language students.
Ryba presented several scenarios for property taxes for the board to consider:
• If the district budgeted expenditures for next school year based on last year's revenue of $36.2 million, property taxes could be cut by 0.104 mills in Luzerne County, by 1.872 mills in Schuylkill County and by 0.781 mills in Carbon County.
• If millage was kept the same at 9.195 mills in Luzerne County, Carbon and Schuylkill counties would still see small tax decreases because of a state taxation formula, and the district would still see an additional $485,000 in property tax revenue over the 2013-14 school year.
• Increasing school property taxes in Luzerne County by about 1.7 percent would increase revenue by $1,235,000 over this school year's. Carbon County's millage would remain the same and Schuylkill County's would increase 0.506 mills.
• Increasing Luzerne County's millage by the indexed amount (the largest increase allowed by state law without referendum approval) from 9.195 mills to 9.542 mills would increase revenue by $2,118,755. Carbon County's millage would increase from 27.778 mills to 28.337 mills, and Schuylkill County's would decrease from 30.573 mills to 30.125 mills.