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District may seek two levies in fall

Voters in Mechanicsburg might be asked to pay more to their school district this fall, but the district’s planned levy request will be slightly smaller than anticipated.

Board members at the Mechanicsburg Exempted Village School District met in a special meeting Friday, in part to discuss two levies that will likely be on the ballot this fall. Board members likely won’t make the levy request official until the next regular meeting in July, Superintendent Dan Kaffenbarger said.

The district will likely ask residents to renew a permanent improvement levy that has been on the books since 1983.

Although it’s a 5-mill levy, Kaffenbarger said it has declined in value to around the equivalent of a 2-mill levy. Kaffenbarger said the district will likely ask voters to approve the levy at its current 5-mill rate.

The district will also ask voters to approve a new 10-year, 4.8-mill emergency operating levy that would raise about $400,000 annually for the district. If approved, it would cost about $147 annually for the owner of a $100,000 home. Initially, board members had considered a larger levy of about 5.7 or 5.9 mills, Kaffenbarger said.

But he said the district is anticipating that some additional revenue could be possible when the state budget is approved. Depending on which version of the state budget moves forward, Kaffenbarger said it could mean as much as a 6.25 percent increase in state funding.

That increase would bring the district back to its 2009 funding levels, although Kaffenbarger said the district’s expenditures have continued to rise above that level.

“It will help but it certainly won’t be restorative,” Kaffenbarger said. “It will be stabilizing at best.”

Kaffenbarger acknowledged that passing the new levy won’t be easy.

“I don’t think that the economy is fully recovered and this is going to be a difficult sell, but really people are going to be deciding what kind of a school district they want,” he said.

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