What Does a 4.308 Percent Property Tax Increase Mean To You?

The Pine-Richland School Board passed a proposed budget that calls for a 4.308 percent property tax increase. What will that mean to your tax bill?

Get out your calculator.

It's time to figure out how much your property taxes will be if the Pine-Richland School Board adopts a $66.8 million budget that calls for a 4.308 percent increase in the tax rate.

Adopting a budget and setting a millage rate for the 2012-13 school year is not a done deal.

It is a multi-step process and

Now the budget is available for public review and comments. 

(CLARIFICATION: Various budget documents are available for review. The district is required to make the proposed final budget available to the public by June 5. Finance Director Dana Siford said she expects to have it available before the June 5 deadline, but it is being updated now to reflect Monday night's vote.)

Final adoption of the budget is set for June 25. That is when a millage rate will be adopted also.

Currently, the millage rate is 21.9084 mills per thousand dollars of a home's assessed value; the proposed rate is 22.8522.

If you have a home assessed at $100,000, your tax bill will go up from $2,190.84 to $2,285.22. That's a $94.38 increase.

But houses in Pine and Richland townships tend to cost more than that.

In Richland Township, the median property value is $122,800, according to the community profile on the Allegheny County website.

Using that number, a homeowner's tax bill would rise from $2,690.35 to $2,806.25, an increase of $115.90.

For Pine Township, the median value is $229,000, according to Pine's community profile. A homeowner's tax bill would change from $5,017.02 to $5,233.15, an increase of $216.13.

But wait, there's more.

To truly understand what your real estate tax bill will be, a homeowner must consider all the costs.

Allegheny County assesses a 5.6900 mill rate, an increase of 1.00 over last year. On top of that, Pine Township assesses 1.2 mills and Richland charges 2.75 mills.

Richland Township

Taxes for a property valued at the median $122,800 are as follows for 2012:

County Tax (5.69 mills) = $698.73

Richland Tax (2.75 mills) = $337.70 

Proposed Pine-Richland School District Tax (22.8522 mills) = $2,806.25

TOTAL = $3,842.68

That total compares to $3,603.98 in 2011, an increase of $238.70. The higher number includes the county's increased millage rate and the proposed school district increase.

Pine Township

Taxes for a property valued at the median $229,000 are as follows for 2012:

County Tax (5.69 mills) = $1,303.01

Pine Tax (1.2 mills) = $274.80

Proposed Pine-Richland School District Tax (22.8522 mills) = $5,233.15

TOTAL = $6,810.96

That total compares to $6,365.83 in 2011, an increase of $445.13. The higher number includes the county's increased millage rate and the proposed school district increase.


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Cindy Cusic Micco May 25, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Hi Stephen, I'm curious what you mean by "everything that will provide no practical benefit to each student finding a job."
Stephen May 25, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Cindy, Thank you for asking. The purpose of k-12 is to prepare students for their future careers. The core requirements are that they be able to read and write proficiently, have thorough understanding of mathematics, understand the political and economic system we work within, and finally fully understand and can articulate the scientific laws and methods by which we base our day to day lives and future endeavors. I recruit, interview, and provide performance feedback on many college grads. I am continually disappointed in their basic fundamental skills related to reading, writing and math. However, these kids can tell me why life is unfair, why they need more encouragement, and why they work better under less stressful environments. We are failing our kids by artificially inflating their accomplishments through non-core competencies. One other important note is we are doing a great disservice to our children by setting the expectation that everyone needs to go to college. Not only is this a fools errand, but it also sets our children up for economic failure. When I was in high school, we were told a college degree gets you $1m extra in income over a life time. Today, unless fully paid for by parents without loans, it gets you serfdom in the form of a life long debt! Most kids would be better off with a trade... have you hired a plumber or electrician lately? I assure you the cost is competitive with your average doctor. Part 2 next
Stephen May 25, 2012 at 07:59 PM
So where would I cut? First, I must apologize because the only curriculum I quickly found was 2009. I could create the same list for 2012 if you like. This does not include all the programs, contracts, head count, and misc areas we could also look at. The following is in the order they are listed in "Program of Studies" 1) Keep all apprentice opportunities if they are free. Add more skill based, like welding, mechanic, plumber, etc. 2) Cut all theater. I love theater, but it is not the responsibility of the school district to get kids involved. If parents want them in theater, then they can pay for it. 3) Cut speed reading... really, how is this a life skill. If they read more, the will read faster 4) Cut Journalism. Teach them basic and advanced reading and writing and let the university teach them this discipline. 5) Keep all Math! It is needed for everything in life. 6) Keep all Science! 7) Cut Psychology. I enjoyed this class in high school, however PR is not running a "School of Psychology". Again what is the school districts core competency? 8) Cut French 1-4 Language - France is not a world power any longer, and they will not be again for several generations, if ever. I agree with the addition of Russian Part 3 Next
Stephen May 25, 2012 at 08:01 PM
10) Cut Macromedia Suite - Do we need to pay for a class that will probably not be a useful skill for most students. If they choose to go into this line of work they will learn this skill in college at their parents expense, not the tax payer. 11) Cut sewing 2 & 3 - Although I know how to sew, and learned it in high school, advanced sewing is not needed. We are a consume and throw away society. We do not mend clothes, and if we need to start doing that again in the future you had better add FARMING to the curriculum. 12) Cut Teen and Family Issues - This is not the core responsibility of school. Throughout history we as a species have been able to deal with our problems. We need to stop coddling our children and worrying about their self esteem. That is a family issue and none of the schools business. If you think life is harder now, go up to Mt Washington and look at the George Washington statue. That BOY was 15, negotiating treaties and surveying forts. 13) Cut video production 2 & 3, 1 is enough. 14) Cut Art History - I love art, and have had opportunities to view many great works around the world. However Art History did not, and would not ever have enable me to have made those trips. It was the basic skills that prepared me for a career where I could afford that luxury. If this is a career path someone would like to take, do it in college when you are paying for it. Part 4 next
Stephen May 25, 2012 at 08:01 PM
15) Cut Jazz Band, Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Singers, Women's Ensemble, Piano, Harmony and Theory and Music Technology - Again stick to basics of Band and Choir. If a parent wants to further encourage and develop their child's skills they can pay for it. There are many piano teachers out there! 16) Cut Alternative Personal Fitness - Really, gym is not enough? We can not expect to fund the hopes and dreams of every child. It is not the role of government at any level to provide for every want and need. If you want something beyond the basics for your child, I applaud you, but that does not mean you get to loot me.
Stephen May 25, 2012 at 08:05 PM
opps, missed #9, guess I do need that desk top publishing skill 9) Cut Desktop Publishing, Photoshop, Web page design, Yearbook 2 & 3 - IT organizations are not looking for these skills. Have you ever heard a business leader say, what we need is more desktop publishers? No of course not, they need engineers, accountants, technical writers, etc.
Stacy May 25, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Hi Stephen and Cindy: I like that Cindy asked the hard question and liked that you, Stephen, gave the hard answer that clearly you thought out. Some of what you personally might want to see cut I tend to agree with you that perhaps it should be looked at. I do feel compelled to point out that some of the classes you might cut do lend themselves to real jobs after high school. (Journalism sticks out to me). Rather than going down the whole list, I just wanted to say that this is what makes a board members' job difficult. I'm not convinced that disemboweling the Jazz band etc is needed, and some students do major in music after high school, but do agree that I would enjoy going line by line through the budget. On a side note that I think is funny: Next Friday "all" juniors in the high school are having a field day, apparently complete with lunch given, games and volleyball with the teachers. My own daughter, a junior, will be in a calculus final during much of the "PSSA Celebration". My point is this: It is sad how out of touch the high school is with even its own students; obviously they do not care that some students have finals that day. Do I think it was intentional? Absolutely not, and probably someone thought it was a great way to spend the day, but it is bizarre that this is what they are having the majority of students and teachers spend their time on that day. The obvious point is that there is a price tag associated with this in terms of teachers' time etc.
another PR mom May 25, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Stephen-you hit the nail on the head regarding the myth that "everyone should go to college". This is what higher education would like us to believe and we have been buying into it hook line and sinker....all the while going into major debt.The fact of the matter is that there are many people that should NOT be going to college. There are many fields that one can go into and earn a decent living that require a trade and not a four year degree. Moreover many college students are encouraged to take what interests them with no thought of the employability of that field. Instead of majoring in fields with real demand (engineering, healthcare) we are turning out tons of "interesting" liberal arts degrees with no hope of a job in their field-so they wait tables and blame the world for their problems while wondering why they are not as great as everyone has always led them to believe that they are.
Stephen May 26, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Cindy, Stacy and PR Mom, I appreciate the feedback, and my point of going through the list is that almost everything should be considered and acted upon to balance the budget as is. In the private sector when we are in danger of going over budget, missing WS forecast, or face a negative event, we must cut. We start with discretionary spending. If that is not enough we cut projects/initiatives, and last people. No matter what course we take, we always must cut. To the contrary public sector starts with discretionary spending via symbolic gestures, until the complaints start, and then fall back to Plan A, which is raise taxes. Today this is almost always what we do, and when the city loses revenue because of high taxes, they look to the state, and soon the fed. I do not care what they do elsewhere, but here in Pine-Richland we have to be better. These are tough times, and adding an additional tax burden is not the answer. No enterprise would last if they kept asking the shareholders for more money. Soon share holders, like tax payers, decide to look elsewhere. I appreciate the SB members for volunteering, but just like volunteer firemen, at some point they have to do the tough job and run into the burning house. It is time to stop the tax and spend mentality, it is time to do the tough job, it is time to work within the budget. If they cannot do that, then perhaps it is time for leaders that will.
Cindy Cusic Micco May 26, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Daryl, What do you think is important to the administrators that is not important to the students?
Daryl Festa May 26, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Cindy, I think the administarators want public perception to be that the are cutting edge and have a district that provides the best of the best in everything (everything material that is). It is my point that fancy buildings, flat screen televisions, expensive furnishings, and new curriculums are not important in giving kids the best education to prepare them for the world. I recall being at a school board meeting where there was a discussion about the new PR School web-site that could be seen in China. Why is that important to our kids? Keeping up appearances when there aren't the resources to maintain it without continuing to raise taxes while families are already sacrificing is completely unfair and disconnected from the reality of this economy. I don't think there was even a consideration of cutting cable tv in even some of the facilities or departments. The Eden Hall Building is very, very nice but over the top in many of its features and a lot of places where the money was spend has no connection to good education. The same can be said for the high school addition. People with unlimited resources can spend until their heart is content on every luxury in the world but school districts are spending other peoples money which is not unlimited. Parents and taxpayes need to see an earnest effort of the administration showing substantial cuts in areas of excess before even entertaining the possibility of a tax increase.
Cindy Cusic Micco May 26, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Thank you to everyone who is commenting and making this a healthy debate on very important issues.
PR Grad May 27, 2012 at 01:11 PM
PineRich Mom - you are absolutely right. There is nothing here that crosbycat or her husband Mr. Festa like about this school district. Which is why they DO NOT send their children to our school, but choose to send them to a private school.
Daryl Festa May 27, 2012 at 01:17 PM
I may not send my children to Pine Richland schools but I am still required to pay taxes. If there was a voucher program for those who choose not to utlize the schools because they believe they are failing their children and allow them to use their money that would go to school taxes for altenative education/private education choices we would not be having this conversation.
crosbycat May 27, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Our family moved to Pine-Richland on purpose in 2006, and after 4 years of Progressive changes under Mary Bucci we felt we could not continue to send our 4 children here in good conscience. I see people here who try to intimidate others from commenting and exercising our right to determine how our hard-EARNED tax money is spent. I do not want to see a generation of PR kids damaged from the dumbing down of the curricula, and from the very liberal unchecked untruths pushed by SOME of the teachers, and I will not be intimidated even though SOME PR teachers and students have engaged in cyber-bullying on my blog (www.postmoderngibsonia.blogspot.com).
Susan M. May 27, 2012 at 02:36 PM
My son was in private school in NJ for 8 years because the schools where we lived were awful. I was so excited to move back to this area (I graduated from North Allegheny) and we CHOSE Pine-Richland over NA because we heard and read such wonderful things about the school district. If I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen NA. In my opinion, I feel that Pine-Richland is failing in so many areas, but the one point that sticks out in my mind is that they can not keep up with the amount of growth in this area. They are getting so much more money from the new taxpayers moving in, but they are spending it like there is no tomorrow. They have no clue how much it is going to cost to educate so many more kids. Why are they not taking any advice from the schools that have been large for years? I graduated with over 600 kids in my class. Quit spending the money to make the school look pretty, and spend it on our teachers and academics so that you can produce well-educated, well-rounded, responsible adults. Bucci needs to go. Period.
Susan M. May 27, 2012 at 02:48 PM
crosbycat, Are these teachers proud of the comments their students made on your blog? I would hope not! Sad. Many of the comments from "a student" etc are questionable. I can not believe that a high school student has enough life experience or education to put together some of those thoughts in a single comment. BOO to the teachers that wrote those and signed that they were from a student.
Stacy May 27, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Cindy: I like your term "healthy debate" and appreciate when people state their opinions, and those facts that back up those opinions, without personally attacking others. Although i consider myself more of a liberal than anything politically, like many aspects of the school district, and have in fact been trained in labor negations for educators (on the side of the educators and para-proffisional staff), yet I am against raising taxes in this instance. With that said: I dislike how it seems that the first thing on the chopping block is some teacher. (Or teachers) There must be a better way.
Stacy May 27, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Susan: Well said about spending the money on teachers and academics rather than making the schools look "pretty". If I would have had a crystal ball then we probably would have moved to NA as well, and we are concerned what will happen when we put our house up for sale in about a year. There are still some great attributes that PRSD offers, and we need to safeguard those, but it really seems to be losing its educational compass over the past couple years, and that is a real shame.
another PR mom May 27, 2012 at 05:56 PM
I would not have moved here either had I known what it was like. Esp EHUE which is a joke. There is just no good way to run that building and I guarantee that each year will be something new just like it has been since the bldg opened. I am currently looking to move out of the district to what most likely will be Hampton or Fox Chapel . Its a shame because I love the area and will miss it.
Cindy Cusic Micco May 27, 2012 at 09:01 PM
It will be interesting to see how neighboring school districts handle budgets in light of the current economy. I have not looked at other district's budgets, but here's a summary of what I have read: North Allegheny voted the other day to raise taxes and not replace 24 retiring teachers. http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-north/north-allegheny-oks-budget-raises-taxes-637210/ Seneca Valley is looking to raise taxes and cut 14 jobs. http://cranberry.patch.com/articles/seneca-valley-approves-proposed-budget-with-4-4-mill-tax-hike Upper St. Clair plans to raise taxes and cut 13 teaching jobs over the next two years, if its budget is approved. http://upperstclair.patch.com/articles/upper-st-clair-budget-eliminates-seven-teachers http://upperstclair.patch.com/articles/proposed-upper-st-clair-budget-raises-taxes-by-5-7-percent What else are you seeing from other districts?
PineRich Mom May 28, 2012 at 02:01 PM
I am just amazed at how outraged all these parents are about the budget, but yet not one of them are outraged with their state government that raised teacher pensions by 25 percent ten years ago, then told school districts they didn't need to contribute, and are now making every school district across PA contribute up to 29 percent of their salary numbers by 2017, which will cripple every school district. Thank you Cindy for pointing out that every district in our area is facing a tax increase, and if they don't take it this year, they will take it next. I am not entirely happy with out district either, but I have taken the time to get educated on the issues. If you think any district, including Fox Chapel or Hampton, aren't facing similar issues, you're just kidding yourselves. We made mistakes for sure with out construction choices, but they started before Dr. Bucci came. Before you all think you can do a better job than anyone else, you should get educated on all the issues affecting our district, then focus on PSERS reform, which will be the only thing that will save PA schools. Additionally, we have to hope that our teachers realize that the days of fat spending are over across the state, and realize that they will have to pay a larger portion of their health care. We need to get our fiscal house in order first from the union and State, then you can complain about how we use it.
another PR mom May 28, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Undoubtedy all districts across the state will be facing similiar issues thanks to the greed of our representatives years back. HOWEVER.......If I am going to pay outrageous taxes I would like to know that I am getting a top district in return for my money. For example: Fairview (Fox Chapel) and Poff (Hampton) are ranked by the PBT #1 and #2 out of ALL elementary schools in the region. Guess what EHUE is ranked?? 86th! I do agree that the most important thing that Pennshylvanians can do this year is to work to reform the PSERS mess that is going to eventually cripple our school districts.
a mom May 28, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Fat spending! Wow! I do not know one teacher or employee that would not willingly pay more for their health benefits. Time will tell. I do not know one teacher that thinks they are living the good life due to a lucrative salary and benefits. As far as PSERS, we only wait for what is due to us. 29 percent sounds like alot but that is only because the district took a vacation for more than several years. Remember that our administraters also reap the PSER benefits. I just get so sick of seeing teachers, teachers, teachers. None of this makes sense and as a taxpayer I am as disgusted as everyone else. Our teachers deserve the back pay contributions that our district chose not to pay. Imagine if we had to pay a penalty on what was not paid into pensions to begin with? Imagine if you worked for a company that contributed to your 401K but took an 8 year vacation. Yes, the days of fat spending are more than likely not going to last long but our teachers deserve their back contributions and should not be blamed for the inept decision making of our admistration and school board.
John Doe May 29, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Here's a great link that explains the PSERS mess that I beleive is at the root of our budget problems - moreso than new buildings and teacher salaries and waste. http://www.qcsd.org/21301012615234450/lib/21301012615234450/Pension_Crisis_PSERS_FAQs.pdf
Stacy May 30, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Thanks to everyone for putting in relevant links on this topic, or effecting this topic. I was going over the proposed budget today and can't help put think that cuts in areas BESIDES teachers could be made. My husband said that they should forget the light that will cost millions and we both wonder about the funds for misc. un-named "supplies" or "support" for Admin. That said: there are many excellent teachers at PRHS and our household is grateful to them for often doing great work for our students. We strongly feel that taxes do not need to be raised if only the board would cut truly unneeded items.
Rich W June 04, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Since the board has made its decision regarding cutting 5.5 positions and the number of times students will participate in organized physical activity, I only think its appropriate to add the following link http://theweightofthenation.hbo.com/. This documentary is mind boggling. Particularly the segment that refers to cutting PE in the state of Texas and the amount of money (millions) that is estimated will cost the public in health insurance and medical expenses because of limited or no physical activity for their children. I guess the board is relying on us parents to make sure the kids learn to lose and win with appropriate gamesmanship. To play within the rules and be part of a team. To be penalized and rewarded when necessary. Oh, and to make sure they do their laps. Just like we (actually watch) them do their homework. "Fat chance." I suspect in a few years we may be called "Pudge-Richland."
Stacy June 18, 2012 at 10:22 AM
It would be interesting if the snack bar that is open during lunch time at the high school would be looked at if folks are really concerned about money as well as health. Maybe we can save some some pounds by not offering cookies and "junk" food to students, just a thought. I just end it interesting that this is never mentioned or even looked at. I believe it is paid staff that runs that snack bar as well. It just seems odd to me to focus on a gym class as some remedy to obesity and to ignore the junk food.
Stacy June 18, 2012 at 10:23 AM
*Not "end" rather "find".
Edourado June 22, 2012 at 07:29 PM
What has no practical benefit...any cost that does not directly touch a student. If you are not in front of a student on a daily basis, the cost should be questioned. All admin positions (their costs is ofter 2X time a teachers pay, consultants, and hanger's on. Those positions continue to grow while teachers numbers are reduced and student population increases.


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