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Pennsbury approves $253.9 million budget that calls for 5.3% tax increase


The Pennsbury School Board unanimously approved a $253.9 million budget for the 2024-25 school year Thursday night, including funds for the design of a new high school.

The budget calls for a 5.3% increase in real estate taxes. A separate vote on that measure was approved by a 7-1 vote with one abstention.

Board member Donna Ahrens said she couldn't support such a large tax increase. “We have to trim spending. There has to be accountability,” she said in voting against the tax increase. Board member TR Kannan was absent.

The tax increase is the highest allowed under the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Act 1 limit without the budget being put to a referendum vote or the district receiving a special exception from the DOE to raise the limit.

Assistant Business Administrator Kimberly Steffy explained that to fund design and construction of the new high school, the district will be proposing tax increases to the Act 1 limit for the next four years.

As part of the finance presentation, the board also approved $727,018 in change orders to the renovations taking place at the Charles Boehm Middle School, with a total of $18 million being allocated in the 2024-25 budget for the Boehm work.

Linda Palsky, the board’s chair of the facilities committee, said the changes were needed to add a canopy for parents dropping off children at school and for underground stormwater piping that needs to be replaced. “The scope of the work changed,” Palsky said.

The budget also will include $4.4 million for work on the district stadium and sports complex.

The board approved seeking a design from D’Huy Engineering for a second turf field at the high school since it will be losing four fields to the construction of the new high school, starting next summer.

Superintendent Thomas Smith thanked the board members for their interest in the construction projects, since many district facilities are more than 50 years old. “Our staff and students like to walk into buildings that are warm, safe and dry,” he said.

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