DALLAS TWP. — The Dallas School Board approved a proposed preliminary budget on Monday night with several members voicing objections to possible tax increases it would mean if passed in final form.
The proposed $35.3 million budget , with a millage of 12.5952, was passed in order to preserve the district’s ability to raise taxes up to 4.6 percent in its final budget later this year if deemed necessary after state funding is assessed.
Board member Fred Parry voted “no” to the proposed plan. He said tax increases it contained would mean unnecessary hardships for homeowners.
Those increases were attributed to an inordinate burden placed on the district to fund public pensions, including for teachers.
Member Bruce Goeringer said he would not vote for the proposed budget if it is presented as a final budget later this year. He said that because 2014 is an election year, the board would have the opportunity to send a message to state legislators that the high pension cost was unacceptable to the district.
“Although legislators would, in effect, be voting to reduce their own pensions, they may believe they need to take action on this in order to be elected or re-elected,” said Goeringer.
Board member Jeff Thomas said, in spite of the board passing the preliminary budget, he believed each member hoped to avoid raising taxes by the full 4.6 percent as permitted by the state law known as Act 1.
Superintendent Frank Gallicki said several state bills were presently in the Legislature that would reduce pension costs for school districts and he encouraged residents to contact their legislators.
In another matter, Diane Ruff, food services director, said the departments of agriculture and education would be conducting a food service review on March 4, 5 and 6.
Ruff described the review as “pretty intense,” but said she was confident the district was up to state standards and would do very well.
Parent Lisa Alees voiced concerns about a recent fight on the high school campus and was assured by Gallicki sufficient staffing was available at all times to monitor students and deal with disciplinary issues.