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Wednesday, October 03, 2018 1:00 am

SACS plans larger 2019 budget

Tax rate, and burden for some, likely to drop

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Southwest Allen County Schools is planning a bigger budget for 2019 – but it isn't expected to require a tax rate hike.

Business manager Jim Coplen presented the proposed $77,550,602 spending plan during a hearing Tuesday that drew no public feedback. Last year, the district proposed a $72 million budget.

The district advertised a nearly $28.3 million tax levy, up from the current levy of about $25.7 million. Local property tax dollars support the operations fund, the referendum fund and debt service.

The estimated tax rate is 0.8215, down from the 2018 rate of 0.8912 – a decrease of about 7 cents.

“That's quite a drop,” Coplen said, adding that an increase in assessed value contributed to the lower rate.

The tax burden likely won't increase – and is more likely to decrease – for property owners outside the Fort Wayne city limits, Coplen said. The change in liability for those within the city will depend on their assessed value, he said.

The board is expected to adopt the budget Oct. 16.

In other business, the board is seeking input on the school calendar for 2020-21 through an online voting system beginning today.

Southwest Allen is proposing two options with two main differences: the first day of school and the length of fall break. If students return Aug. 12, fall break would be just a day. If they start Aug. 5, fall break would last a week.

Voting ends Oct. 23. Go to www.sacs.k12.in.us for information.

Superintendent Phil Downs stressed that the decision rests with board members, who are expected to approve a calendar Nov. 6.

asloboda@jg.net