HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Harrisburg School Board voted 6-1, approving a significant property tax increase. Two board members were absent.

An increase is actually required as part of the court-ordered recovery plan. It’s the first tax increase since the 2019-2020 school year.

While some will be paying more, thousands of families will actually be paying less thanks to relief funding.

“The recovery plan calls for the school district to raise property taxes to the act one index, in our case that would have been 5.1%. We are below that with our one mill increase at 3.36%,” said Dr. Marcia Stokes, Harrisburg School District’s business administrator.

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That’s an increase of $1 per $1,000 of assessed value. But 31% of properties qualify for what’s called a homestead exemption.

Stokes explained, “5,609 properties will not see an increase in their tax bill due to the fact that we are receiving more property tax relief funds or gambling funds in the 2022-23 school year.”

Short term, the district is using COVID relief funding to beef up staffing and reopen Steele Elementary. Long term, Stokes says the tax increase will give the district about $1.4 million a year.

“So those are resources that we’re able to put to use to improve academic achievement, help retain staff, and just keep continuing with day-to-day operations,” Stokes said.

Receiver Dr. Lori Suski also approved a budget of $223.8 million.

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“By doing this budget I think we are providing a transparent outline for future financial goals that were in the receivership and puts us on the path that we need to be for to get us out from a financial standpoint,” Stokes said.

The new tax bills should go out shortly after July 1.

The Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas recently extended the district’s receivership led by Suski through June 17, 2025.

“Our goal, both working collaboratively together is to be able to get Harrisburg to a point where we can exit within the next three years, so I’m very excited to work with the individual who I’ve been working with for the past six months, and I look forward to the partnership between the two of us over the next three years,” said Superintendent Eric Turman.