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BUDGET HAS TAX RATE HIKE

The Maryvale School Board on Monday night adopted a $30.5 million budget for 2005-06 that increases spending by 2.5 percent.

School Superintendent Gary Brader said the projected tax rate increase of 6 percent, or $1.76 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, is expected to be lower once property assessments are calculated in August.

He said the actual rate should be between 90 cents and $1.45 more per $1,000, which would raise the tax rate to as much as $29.30 per $1,000, representing a 5 percent increase.

The proposed budget, which is $736,315 more than the current spending level, was pared back from initial proposals and includes elimination of funding to reinstate the prekindergarten program cut in 2004-05. Officials, however, believe that state funding, which paid for the program, will be restored.

"We hope to know that by the time the budget goes to vote," said Ronald Roma, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

District residents will vote on the budget May 17.