Following the June 25 Bethel Park School Board meeting, district taxpayers are faced with a 1.5222-mill real estate tax increase, bringing the new rate to 26.0748 mills.

The increase comes with the board’s adoption of a $110.4 million final general fund operating budget for the 2024-25 school year.

For a property valued at the municipal median of $155,000, the real estate tax is $4,041.59, up $235. Properties that qualify for a homestead exclusion have a $258 reduction.

Because 1 mill generates $2.61 million for the school district, the tax increase will net $3.98 million in revenue.

District business manager Douglas McCausland proposed the increase in May to address rising costs and sustain quality of education, according to a district press release. A driving factor was the loss of $2.5 million in tax revenue because of refunds and lowered property values.

“If you look at that number, it’s almost an entire mill of that tax increase,” McCausland said.

The district needs an estimated $5.5 million to complete renovations at Independence Middle School and nearly $69 million to finish construction of the new elementary center. District officials are awaiting word on a $5 million grant application pertaining to the middle school’s roof replacement.

To complete all three projects, the district estimated that they will need between $74.5 million and $79.5 million.

It is recommended that $70 million be borrowed in early fall and a bond be issued for the remainder toward the end of the project, McCausland said.

Also at the June 25 meeting:

• Superintendent James Walsh discussed a change to the district’s strategic plan that includes giving more specific roles to administrators, as opposed to the broad roles they possessed previously.

“Everybody on the admin team owns some of the parts of the strategic plan, to be sure that we pay ample attention to it with our time and our resources, and to be sure we’ve accomplished the best we can over the next two-and-a-half years,” he said.

• The curriculum department presented information that was learned during an administrative retreat. On the first day, the group took a trip to Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, which happens to be one of the partners in the design of the forthcoming elementary center’s outdoor classroom.

“We are paying close attention to those outdoor learning spaces and being very intentional in our design to ensure that students all have the ability to engage with those outdoor spaces that we are designing,” said Elizabeth Wells, K-12 coordinator of curriculum and construction. “They reminded us that it doesn’t need to just be outdoor spaces, i. It is anything thinking beyond the four walls.”

The second day consisted of a session with a facilitator from Franklin Covey, a coaching company that assists with leadership.

• The board approved the ratification of a collective bargaining agreement between the district and the Paraprofessional Aides Educational Support Unit of the Bethel Park Federation of Teachers, for the term of July 1, 2024, though June 30. Six members carried the motion, and Jim Modrak abstained due to a conflict.