BASD adopts budget, reduces tax increase | News, Sports, Jobs

BASD adopts budget, reduces tax increase | News, Sports, Jobs

BELLEFONTE — The Bellefonte Area School District on Tuesday night adopted a 2021-22 budget in the total amount of $55,100,000, and levied a tax of 50.4518 mills of real estate, which will reduce the tax increase from one percent down to .5 percent.

At the same time, the board also approved the re-opening of the 2021-22 budget as provided for in Section 616.1 of the Pennsylvania School Code, which states, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a board of school directors of a school district may reopen its annual budget for a period of thirty (30) days after the annual General Appropriation Act is enacted to reflect Federal and State allocations for the current fiscal year provided by the annual General Appropriation Act.”

BASD financial director Ken Bean explained why the budget was being re-opened.

“Friday night, the state passed its budget and that’s the first we found out that we were getting some additional funds and how much they might be. Up until then, we didn’t have a clue,” Bean said.

The board will hold just one meeting in July. It will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 13. The meeting is open to the public, but will also be streamed via Zoom through the district’s website.

At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, the district accepted several thousand dollars in donations that will be used “to defray the costs of changes to the name and logo in the gymnasiums at the high school.”

The donations came from three anonymous donors and one named donor. The anonymous donations totaled $6,000. There was also a donation from Ida O’Donald in the amount of $1,000.

According to the agenda, the funds will “be set aside in a special account.”

“I think we talked about this briefly, setting up a re-branding fund in the district to help with all the re-branding efforts,” said board president Jon Guizar. “Did we decide … there doesn’t need to be a separate avenue for people to make those donations. They can send them any way they like, but they can also use the PayPal link on our website and just tag it ‘rebranding’ and that will go into that fund.”

A little over a year ago, the mascot controversy in the Bellefonte Area School District began when people — some from outside the district — began showing up at school board meetings in droves. That prompted the school board to agree to phase out Native American imagery and drop the word “Red” from Red Raiders.

Board member Rodney Musser, who spearheaded the mascot change, suggested that the district post the amount of money raised toward the re-branding efforts on its website.

“I might recommend that if we are going to have that type of fundraiser, then we should put on there that we’ve raised ‘this’ amount and suggest to others that we have started,” Musser said.

The board accepted the $7,000 in donations unanimously. Board member Donna Smith was excused from the meeting and did not vote.

In other business Tuesday night, the board:

— Voted unanimously to withdraw the district’s health and safety plan. “We didn’t have an end date to that health and safety plan and we needed an end date,” said superintendent Tammie Burnaford. “…The rules have changed, the laws have changed, all those things have changed. Our current health and safety plan did not reflect those changes We’ll withdraw this one and then we’ll submit the (new) one at the next board meeting.”

She said that a new health and safety plan is due “by the end of July.”

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