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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, October 04, 2017 1:00 am

SACS gets no feedback on budget

Hearing held on advertised $29.3 million levy

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

The Southwest Allen County Schools board received no public feedback Tuesday during a hearing on its proposed 2018 budget.

Taxpayers likely won't experience much change in their tax burden under the $72 million plan, said Jim Coplen, SACS business manager.

SACS advertised a $29.3 million tax levy, compared to the 2017 certified levy of about $25.6 million.

The estimated tax rate is 0.9165, down from the 2017 rate of 0.9283, Coplen said.

More than $9.5 million is budgeted for the capital projects fund, up from nearly $9.2 million in 2017, he said.

Allocations of about $8.1 million and nearly $8.3 million are planned for that fund in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Coplen, responding to a question from one of the few audience members, said the improvements being considered for Homestead High School should affect debt service rather than the capital projects fund.

SACS recently sought public feedback on whether it should renovate its only high school or rebuild it. The district also got input on which funding option – with a referendum or without – citizens favored.

The school board received the results from community dialogue last month, but it has not discussed the issue further. Superintendent Phil Downs has said a January deadline would be in effect if the board wants to pursue a referendum for the May ballot.

The board is expected to adopt the budget Oct. 17, the same night East Allen County Schools is set to adopt its budget.

Of the other Allen County districts, Northwest Allen County Schools will adopt its budget first, on Monday. Fort Wayne Community Schools will hold its public hearing Monday, with adoption set for Oct. 23.