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NACS's '15 budget may raise taxes 1.2%

Northwest Allen County Schools officials are projecting a 1.2 percent increase for the district's 2015 budget, although there are no estimates as to what the hike could mean to taxpayers, according to Bill Mallers, the district's business manager.

The current tax rate per $100 of assessed house value is $1.504, Mallers said, but “there's not enough data” to estimate the 2015 assessment.

The proposed budget of $64,962,668, an increase of $740,015 over last year, grew because of wage increases, health in­sur­ance costs and increased staffing to accommodate growth, he said.

There were no cuts to the budget, Mallers said, adding that the district will “make decisions after the budget is approved.

“We do face property tax caps,” he said. “We know we won't get 100 percent of funding because of the tax caps.”

He said the district hopes to buy nine new school buses, six as replacement buses and three for additional routes, “associated with growth over the last three years.” However, with the tax caps, he expects to fund only eight buses.

The district's enrollment increased by 100 children this year, adding to the 323 students who entered the schools in the previous two years. To accommodate this growth, the district added seven certified positions across the schools. Class sizes, which average 23.8 students in the elementary schools and 28.3 in the junior and high schools, should stay the same, he said.

“The official count day is Sept. 12. Last year, we had 6,840 students. We know we're going to be up,” Mallers said.

The budget was discussed at Monday's board meeting and is ex­pected to be passed Oct. 13. The next board meeting is Sept. 8.

“Pretty much, funds like transportation and bus replacement are all within the line of the increase we are allowed by the state maximum levy.”