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For the second year in a row, the South Middleton School Board may seek exceptions under Act 1 that would allow the district to raise the property tax beyond its base index.

The Act 1 index for budget year 2018-19 is projected at 2.4 percent for South Middleton, said Matthew Ulmer, district business and operations manager.

If approved as the maximum tax increase, the 2.4 percent would yield about $463,000 in new revenue, Ulmer said. But instead of settling for just the base index, he will recommend the board pass a resolution to seek exceptions to account for increases in special education costs and in the local contribution the district makes to the Pennsylvania Public School Employee’s Retirement System.

“We want to keep our options open,” Ulmer said during a finance committee meeting Monday. His recommendation would have to go before the full board for a vote.

Before Thanksgiving, Ulmer plans to bring to the board his revenue and expenditure projections for the 2018-19 budget. He is trying to project the numbers out to the next five years.

Last year, the Pennsylvania Department of Education granted South Middleton special exceptions for PSERS and for grandfathered debt service on school construction projects.

The special exceptions allowed the board to approve a 7.1 percent tax increase to offset a projected $2.9 million budget deficit for 2017-18. The Act 1 base index was 2.5 percent.

The district was unsuccessful in its attempt to receive an exception for special education costs under the criteria set by PDE in 2017-18.

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History and education reporter for The Sentinel.

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