December 14,  2010

Brandywine now seen likely
to avoid a tax referendum

The Brandywine school board adopted a final $143.1 million budget for the current fiscal year which seems to indicate that the district will be able to put off a tax referendum for at least another year.

After the board's monthly business meeting financial officer David Blowman told Delaforum that a decision in that regard will not be made until after the turn of the calendar year. But he confirmed that it "now appears unlikely" that a higher tax rate will be needed until fiscal 2013. If so, the district will have gone five years without a property tax hike, two more than promised after the 2007 referendum. "We're beginning to see the [financial] benefit of the difficult decision to close two school buildings," he said. The current expense tax rate  -- the only component of the total rate subject to referendum -- stands at $1.289 for each $100 of assessed property value, the upper limit. The total rate, including debt service incurred as the result of voter-approved capital projects, is $1.8215.

At the meeting on Dec. 13 Blowman reported that Brandywine had a net gain of 333 students 'choicing in' from other districts, up from 250 last year. On the other hand, it lost 653 students to charter schools, up from 621. The $2.6 million in tuition that it has had to pay charter schools more than offset the $978,000 netted through the choice law. Blowman explained that the numbers of children involved and variations in the formulas to calculate payments produced that wide gap. Superintendent Mark Holodick told the board that nine paraprofessionals will be called back or hired through the rest of this year using federal education jobs support dollars. Most of the money the district received will be banked to replace federal stimulus dollars that won't be forthcoming next year, he said.

Get more information about this topic

Read previous Delaforum article: Board to receive preliminary budget

Read previous Delaforum article: Brandywine won't have to seek a tax hike

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