What Are Local School Districts Planning to do About Budgets and Tax Rates?
Patch takes a look at proposals around Western Pennsylvania.
Patch editors around Western Pennsylvania have been covering the hot button issue of school district budgets.
Here's a look at what school boards around the area are voting to do:
The Baldwin-Whitehall School Board adopted a preliminary 2012-13 budget with an increase of 1.08 mills, totaling 24.48 mills.
The board president said there would likely be changes to the budget before a final budget is adopted on June 30.
Chartiers Valley passed its 2012-13 school year budget without raising taxes. The $52.22 million budget is a 4.77 percent increase over last year’s spending plan, but keeps taxes the same because of increases to real estate revenue and streamlining of expenses.
The board adopted a proposed 2012-13 preliminary budget with expenditures of $36,029,534 and revenues of $34,707,787. The budget will be available for review for 30 days with final approval scheduled for June 28.
The Moon Area School Board approved a proposed preliminary budget totaling $62,778,660, that includes no staff cuts or tax increases. The district moved to use a $2.665 million court settlement to offset its rising pension costs and forgo planned cuts. The tax millage rate in the school district remains at 21.30.
Residents in the North Hills School District could see an increase in property taxes of 1.7 percent next year, if the proposed final budget for the 2012-13 school year is approved by the district's directors at their June 4 meeting. The 0.35 mill increase would raise the rate from its current 20.91 mills to 21.26 mills and generate an additional $735,000 for the district.
Peters Township School Board approved a preliminary budget of approximately $50.9 million for the 2012-13 school year with a tax increase of 1.64 mills. That is equivalent to an extra $17 for every $1,000 of taxes homeowners currently pay. The board will finalize the budget at its June 25 meeting.
The Pine-Richland School Board voted 5-4 recently to adopt a $66.8 million proposed final 2012-13 budget that preserves 9.5 teaching positions in music and other areas.
However, it will take a 4.308 percent tax increase and the elimination of 5.5 physical education teaching positions to make the budget balance.
The proposed budget is now available for public review—the final vote for adoption of a budget and the setting of the millage rate is June 25.
The proposed 4.308 percent tax increase would bring the millage rate to 22.8522.
In a 5-4 vote, the Plum School Board approved a preliminary budget that would hold the line on taxes but eliminate some programs, including the district's Driver’s Education and Family and Consumer Sciences programs. Three positions are eliminated via those program cuts. The millage rate is currently 22.2 and hasn't changed since 2005.
Superintendent Joseph Clapper cautioned the budget is preliminary and that additional cuts are expected between now and June 19, when the board plans to vote at 7 p.m. on a final spending plan.
At .55 mills, a property owner with a home assessed at $156,000—the median value of a district home—would pay $85.80 more in taxes each year, an increase of about $7.15 per month.
Seneca Valley School District officials approved a proposed $97.2 million budget that closes a $4.8 million shortfall for the 2012-13 school year—and includes a 4.4 mill increase in real estate taxes.
Based on the proposed budget, business manager Lynn Burtner said taxpayers with homes that have a $100,000 market value could expect to pay an average of about $60 more in taxes per year.
To balance the budget, the district eliminated a total of 15.5 positions. Officials also are exploring potential new revenue sources, reducing building costs, and increasing student activity and lunch/breakfast fees.
School board members are expected to vote on a finalized budget June 25.
That is a 5.7 percent tax increase and equivalent to an extra $275 in taxes per $200,000 assessed home value.
The budget includes the elimination of seven fulltime teaching positions through attrition.
The final budget will not be voted on until June 20.
Thoughts after reading what other school districts are doing? Tell us in the comments.