The Eastern school board voted 5-4 Thursday night to apply for exceptions for the 2013-14 school year.

Those exceptions would allow the district to raise taxes above the 2.2 percent index established by the state.

If all the exceptions are approved by the state Department of Education, taxes could go up by an additional 1.8 percent for a total tax increase of 4 percent.

The state sets a tax increase limit for each school district based on inflation and other figures. School districts can exceed that limit by seeking exceptions for uncontrollable costs.

Board secretary Teresa Weaver stressed that applying for exceptions doesn't mean the district must use them.

Weaver told the board Eastern applied for and used some exceptions in the 2007-08 budget. Last year, the district applied for exceptions, but didn't use them.

"This does not obligate us to anything," said Weaver.

Still, board member Robert Flaharty Jr. encouraged board members to vote down the motion.

"This is a huge increase," he said.

Flaharty along with board members Ronald Abel, Lorraine Kelner, and Darvin Shelley voted against the motion.

In the past two budgets, Eastern has approved tax hikes of 1.1 and 1.7 percent.

The district's 19.35-mill tax rates means a tax bill of about $2,900 on a $150,000 home.