Greater Johnstown school board on Tuesday pledged not to raise taxes for 2015-16.

School boards at this time of year are required to adopt a resolution limiting tax increases to the level set by an inflation index.

It would be the 18th consecutive year taxes have remained the same in the district.

“Johnstown does not plan to raise property taxes in the upcoming or foreseeable future,” board President Richard Unger said.

Unger said that since 2011, millions of dollars in state funds that had been used for educational programs were eliminated by the state.

The school board has had to cut or reduce services for programs such as nursing courses, libraries and after-school programs, he said. Elimination of the funds has led to class sizes growing to inappropriate levels, he said.

But property values in the district have been shrinking, which means there are fewer locally derived dollars each year, Unger said.

“Increasing local taxes will cause more homeowners and businesses to either abandon their properties or relocate, as was the trend before the school board began freezing the local tax rate,” he said.

District officials believe that passing a budget with a tax increase would have unintended consequences, Unger said.

Therefore, the budget proposal moves forward with no tax increase

Frank Sojak is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5058. Follow him on Twitter @FrankNews10.

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