Thursday, July 10, 2014

Retirements may require a hefty hike

February 20. 2013 2:09AM
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LEHMAN TWP. – A tax increase for Lake-Lehman School District seemed almost inevitable after a presentation to the board by Tom Melone, representing Al Melone and Associates, the district's financial manager.

Melone projected a $2.1 million shortfall for the 2013-14 school year if the board did not request a tax increase.

He also pointed out that the state-allowed tax increase of 2.1 mills would not even cover the projected retirement-cost increase for the district in the 2013-14 school year. A mill is a $1 tax on each $1,000 of assessed property value.

According to Melone's presentation, the estimated increase in retirement benefits paid by the district would be $600,000-plus more than the current year's retirement costs. He said the state would cover a portion of those retirement benefit costs, but that a 2.1 mill rise in taxes would not generate enough revenue to cover the remainder.

Melone said the district could apply for an exception based on increased retirement benefit costs. This would allow the district to raise the taxes by a total of 3.9 mills.

Lake-Lehman is one of the few districts in the state that lies in two counties. The current millage rate for those district residents in Luzerne County is 9.27. Those living in Wyoming County are assessed at a millage rate of 53.46.

In other matters:

• Tracey Halowich, director of curriculum instruction and assessment for the district, announced the science curriculum would change beginning in 2013-2014 to better prepare students for the biology Keystone exam. She said proficiency on the exam will be a requirement for graduation beginning with the class of 2017 (current eighth-graders).

• Superintendent James McGovern announced a cooperative fundraiser called A Night of Mayhem. The event would involve many of the district's booster clubs, and its goal would be to provide money to replace the district's field turf.

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