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PR School Board Approves Preliminary Budget—But There's a Surprise Attached

The $69.4 million budget includes a 4.24 percent tax increase ... or does it?

The Pine-Richland School Board approved a preliminary $69.4 million budget with a 4.2 percent real estate tax increase Monday night, but there was a surprise attached.

Finance and School Services Director Dana Siford told the board it is likely the state will limit a tax increase to 3 to 3.5 percent.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education gets involved whenever the school board proposes a tax increase that exceeds its 2 percent index defined by Act 1.

The school district can apply for exceptions to the Act 1 index, but the state designates only four categories. Pine-Richland planned to file for exceptions based on rising retirement and special education costs.

By adopting the preliminary budget on Monday, the school board gave Siford the ability to file for those exceptions. 

But Siford told the board Monday that Pine-Richland likely will not qualify for the special education category.

The PRSD final budget and millage rate is not scheduled for a vote until the school board's June 10 meeting. In the meantime, the board's finance committee will meet at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, to start discussing the budget. (This is a change from a previously announced March 4 date.)

The public is invited to the meeting, which will be held at the

To view the preliminary budget online, click here for the district's Budget Communications Center

Keeping checking back with Pine-Richland Patch for updates on the budget process.

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PR Proud February 14, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Any talk of a tax increase of this/any size should immediately subside until our district leaders get their collective acts together on all levels. For too many of us, we are not only going to feel the sledgehammer effect of dual increases (property assessment and this increase), but also, we must grasp the fact that ours is a school district sliding into mediocrity. One cannot help but feel a twinge of envy when our property tax bills arrive, and our closest Butler County neighbors (Mars & Seneca Valley) receive theirs at a nearly 50% discount. Those being the same school districts that have a recent designation with a Blue Ribbon school of Excellence (Seneca Valley), and another with such rapid growth in PSSA scores that they are nearly tied with PR in recent results. Ours is/ has been a school district devoid of true leadership for years, and we are seeing the results of our administrative ineptitude on all levels. The saddest thing is that we are being mandated to pay more (in taxes), and our children will receive lesser quality education than they could receive elsewhere. If you have any doubts as to my stance on the state of affairs in our district, please make a visit to Eden Hall, that of palatial construction, but devoid of any true signs of educational quality. Talk to the teachers, the students, and the parents- all will reaffirm the leadership ineptitude rampant in PR. There should be no tax increases, and we need to hire an experienced superintendent.
Richard February 17, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Just like last year, all cuts need to be considered to save raising our taxes. I am ok with a small raise of taxes but nothing this drastic. The direction of this school district will be determined by the hiring of our next superintendent. Will we go the route of overspending from years ago when we built the football stadium and Eden Hall (Mars built a smiliar sized school for 20 million less, boy would it be nice to have that extra money) or will we continue to trim our budgets. Will our new superintendent have a true vision for our district or will the school board continue to lead the way? PR Proud, I agree with almost all of your points. However, Seneca Valley could have as many awards as they want. I would not send my kids to Seneca Valley for free! I will continue to pay higher taxes (probably double) at PR instead of moving my family to inferior districts such as Seneca or Mars (eventhough they have better leadership). My children have done very well in life because of the education at PR and the SAT scores betweeen us and them are not even close. With more kids coming through, I hope the new superintendent will get the district back on track.
PR Proud February 18, 2013 at 03:43 AM
At one time, PR was on a tier of excellence that was placing us among the best school districts in our region/state. We have slipped significantly during the past five years, and despite our hopes/denials otherwise, we can no longer equate our education quality with the best in our immediate area (Hampton & North Allegheny). As much as you might want to believe that the Mars School District is inferior to ours, recent PSSA scores suggest otherwise. We have spent (wasted) untold amounts of tax dollars upon the whims of school board that had/has absolutely no clue as to fiscal responsibility and effective administrative hiring. Many view the excessive/ frivolous expenditures for construction of the stadium, high school expansion, and Eden Hall Elementary as our district's whitest of elephants. The staff, our neighbors, parents, and the students of Eden Hall Upper Elementary might tell you that given a choice of another learning environment, virtually none would choose to have our/their children there. The mega-sized school is our lowest performing district school on the PSSA's and may be our biggest albatross to overcome. Almost by consensus, EH is viewed as a "sterile" school where no one knows your name (beyond the select few), is devoid of any celebrations and/or field trips, absent of any real administrative leadership that recognizes each child's individuality to learn, and whose learning environment can be equated more as a shopping mall than a learning environment.
Richard February 19, 2013 at 02:33 PM
PR Proud, I agree with all of your points about how money has been spent hte past decade. I wonder where we will go for the future of this district. There has been some change if the board the past few years and maybe that will help. The PSSA scores are comparable with Mars but that has no bearing on where a student gets accepted into a college. SAT's and GPA are still the driving factor for college. It could change in the future, but until then, I will continue to focus on SAT's and not PSSA's.

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