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.