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East Penn Raises Taxes, Cuts Willow Lane Busing in 2012-2013 Budget

The average homeowner will pay $40.08 more next year in school taxes, according to the school district.

The East Penn School Board voted 6-3 Monday to pass a 2012-2013 budget that will raise taxes 1.3 percent.

This represents an increase of .6 of a mil, bringing total millage to 46.75 mils.

The increase is less than increase because the board -- on Superintendent Thomas Seidenberger's "gut feeling" -- added $200,000 back into the revenue side of the ledger on the expectation that the state of Pennsylvania will reinstate Accountability Block Grants when the state passes its budget in the next few days.

The board discussed voting on a budget that would include the ABG funds -- supplemental funds endowed by the state for programs, usually for the early elementary grades -- and would eliminate busing for Willow Lane Elementary students.

Several school directors said they were hesitant to "gamble" on the state to reinstate the funds, but Seidenberger said he has seen from several sources that it will be the case.

From member to member, most felt the best way to go was to rely on the $200,000 yet to be endowed and to cut out busing for students who live within 1.5 miles of Willow Lane.

"It was always meant to be a walker school," even in the planning stages, Seidenberger reminded board members.

Charles Ballard, Alan Earnshaw, Ken Bacher, Francee Fuller, Rebecca Heid and Samuel Rhodes voted in favor of the budget.

Julian Stolz, Lynn Donches and Michael Policano voted against.

Several parents addressed the board regarding safety concerns regarding students who will no longer be bused including the blind curves of Willow Lane itself. One mentioned a school festival last year at which a young student was hit by a car even though he was accompanied by parents.

Director Bacher asked the superintendent what constituted "safe" route or walkway in the interest of what it best for the students.

Seidenberger said the Pennsylvania State Police make the determination, and indeed some walker routes have been declared unsafe. 

keith mcdermott June 28, 2012 at 10:23 PM
I WALKED TO SCHOOL MY WHOLE LIFE AND FOUND IT TO BE FUN. WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD BE UPSET WITH IS THIS SCHOOL BOARD ONCE AGAIN RAISED THE SCHOOL TAX. I AM AT THE POINT WHERE I AM CONSIDERING SELLING MY HOUSE AND MOVING OUT OF THIS SCHOOL DISTRICT. WHAT IS IT 10 - 11 YEARS IN A ROW WITH A TAX HIKE. THESE IDIOTS KNOW NOTHING OTHER THEN TO RAISE TAX VOTE THEM ALL OUT
tamarya June 28, 2012 at 11:11 PM
People are missing their taxes are still going up, if I am going to pay more to the school kids or no kids attending they damn well shouldn't be taking stuff away. As for you walking to school, that was then this is now, I never rode in a carseat because they were not required so if I would get pregnant again should I place my newborn in the car without a seat since I never needed one and survived car rides?
Really? June 29, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Kids walk to school every day in this country!! Your taxes would have went up a few more cents a year had they continued bussing the kids.
Garrett Rhoads July 02, 2012 at 10:34 PM
It wasn't a lack of "safety measures". It was a lack of attention paid by the parents and the driver. You also fail to mention that this incident occurred during the school festival after school hours, not walking to school for class.
tamarya July 02, 2012 at 10:56 PM
That accident was a result of the driver stepping on the gas after they saw pedestrians waiting to cross and the child walked across. Yes it was not on school hours but impatient and careless drivers drive at all times of the day, especially during school hours when they have to get to work, because they cannot leave with enough time to get there.

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