The Smyrna School Board approved the Fiscal Year 2015 tax rate at the BOE meeting Wednesday night at the Central Administration Building.

The increase is roughly 16 percent over last year’s tax rate.

Finance Director Jerry Gallagher went over the tax increase with the school board prior to the vote. Gallagher proposed a Kent County school tax rate of $1.6433 per $100 of assessed value. He proposed a rate for New Castle County of $1.3077.

“The increase incorporates the referendum, which passed in February,” Gallagher said.

In February, a major capital improvements referendum and current expense referendum were approved. The first-year impact for taxes because of the passed referendum was expected be about $92 for a home with a market value of $200,000; however, Gallagher said Wednesday night the increase is $7 less than expected at $85 a year.

The 2014 tax rate for Kent County is $1.4161 per $100 of assessed value; the 2014 tax rate for New Castle County is $1.1267.

The district has different rates for New Castle County and Kent County residents; however, a home valued at the same amount in the two counties would pay similar values.

Gallagher also went over the preliminary budget; the school board will vote on a final version of the 2015 budget in November.

Based on the predicted revenues, Gallagher expects to have a balanced budget next year unlike the past several years in which the district operated on a deficit.

“This makes me very happy,” Gallagher said.

While the tax rate and preliminary budget were approved, Gallagher said the board will have a chance to make revisions if need be. He said with the state legislature winding down for the session, there’s always a chance a decision made in the general assembly could force the district to revise the tax rate and budget.

Farewell for Clark continues

School Board President Jeff Clark was honored again at the meeting; he was previously honored during the employee recognition luncheon earlier this month.

Clark said he’s enjoyed every minute of the 15 years he’s spent on the school board. He’s proud of what the district has accomplished during his three terms.

“The district is lucky to have someone like [Superintendent] Mrs. Wicks,” Clark said.

Clark came on board as the district was starting to grow and eventually sat through the building of new schools including Sunnyside Elementary and Clayton Intermediate School. When the growth started, Clark said he held his breath and hoped the district knew what it was doing; now dealing with growth is almost a habit.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of being a small part of it,” he said.

As for the school board, Clark said he’s loved working with his fellow board members over the years and said the other four current board members – Christine Malec, Ron Eby, Vetra Evans-Gunter, and Kristi Lloyd – are tops.

“I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything,” Clark said.

Reorganizational meeting is July 8

The school board scheduled the July reorganizational meeting for Tuesday, July 8 at 7 a.m.; the meeting had to be before July 9.

The meeting will be at the Central Administration Building on Monrovia Avenue. The purpose of the meeting is to swear in incoming board member Scot McClymont, appoint board positions for the upcoming year and more.