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School Board Passes Chambersburg Property Tax Increase

The Chambersburg Area School District has passed a 2.6 percent real estate tax increase for their 2014-2015 budget.

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Property owners in Chambersburg will be facing higher taxes. This comes after the Chambersburg School District passed a 2.6 percent property tax increase Wednesday night in a 7 to 2 vote.

The increase is the maximum amount districts in Pennsylvania can impose without state or voter approval.

"This increase would be the largest in the last couple of years,” said Steven Dart, Chambersburg Area School District business manager. “Two years ago we had no real estate tax increase and last year the fiscal year that's just now ending, we had a one percent tax increase."

It’s something many residents do not want to hear.

"I just think it's crazy and it's going to make a huge impact on our finances,” said Chambersburg resident Michelle Bumbaugh.

Although the increase is relatively high, administrators say they need the money to keep up with rapidly increasing student enrollment. For the last three years, their kindergarten class size has increased by about 100 students every year.

"We have a very fast-growing district,” said Dart. ”We're bringing in hundreds more students in our kindergarten classes than we're sending out of our 5th grade to go to our middle schools."

In addition, the state is requiring school districts to contribute more money to the Pennsylvania School Employee's Retirement System. Last year, the district had to contribute 17 cents for every dollar an employee made. This year, the district has to give 21 cents.

They are also hoping the money will allow them to reduce elementary class sizes and help every child obtain literacy by the age of ten. 

Other residents say they understand the school district's needs and are willing to pay.

"I have children so I appreciate the schools, them being offered the education and resources to have a good education,” said Chambersburg resident Jill Finkle.

For some residents, the tax increase may not make as big of a dent in their wallet. Approved homestead or farmstead owners will not be as affected due to income tax offsets.

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