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T/E School Board Leaves Door Open on Tax Hike

Budget still being reviewed but the door is still open on new taxes.

Update as of Tuesday at 11:30am: The Tredyffrin Easttown School District has now posted the most up-to-date budget numbers and full minutes from Monday night's meeting. They are available on the T/E District website.

The Tredyffrin Easttown School Board is leaving its options open on new taxes for the 2013-2014 school year.

During a largely procedural, but important to the process, special meeting Monday night Board members voted to leave open the option to ask the state to permit an exception to the current 1.7 percent cap on new school taxes for the 2013-2014 school year.

The district is still projecting a deficit of $1,575,000 even with a state-permitted tax increase of up to 1.7 percent.

That number can - and will- change by the time the board votes on a final 2013-2014 school year budget in June. Under state law, local school districts are required to have balanced budgets each year.

The currently unanswered question is how to get to that balanced budget.

There are several options that are being considered, as they are every year at this stage of the budget process.

One of those options is for the T/E School District to ask for an exception to the 1.7% cap. Figures that are expected to be posted on the district's website Tuesday indicate that as of now, the exception if approved and implemented, would bring the projected $1,575,000 deficit down to $1,297,513.

The board's vote on Monday night does not mean that there will definitely be a tax increase for the next school year. It means that the board is simply exercising its option to leave the possibility open.

The state requires local school districts to make a decision by the end of January as to whether they will work within the state-mandated ceiling (T/E's is currently 1.7% but every district is different based on local financial conditions) or whether they will request an exception.

The T/E School Board will meet again on January 28 to take one more look at the budget projections before making a final decision on whether to seek the exception or not.

Monday night's vote simply keeps the options open.

Version January 08, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Don't understand all the drama, eveyone knows that school taxes will be going up. Just like all the other taxes, county, township, why would the school distrist do anything different.
Neal Colligan January 08, 2013 at 03:18 PM
Last night's vote was no surprise although I was encouraged to see 2 members vote against applying for Referendum Exception tax increases. Recent District tax increases equal 9.93% over the last three years. Enrollment growth over that time is less than 1% annually and general economic growth rates also do not support recent tax increases. Spending in our District last year was $101 MM (actual) and projected to be $107 MM this year...last night's estimate for 2013-14 spending is $113.5 MM. This would be a 6% spending increase. Do we really have a "tax/revenue" problem or is the culprit spending? The Board often talks about their $13 MM in spending cuts BUT spending in the District in total has NEVER decreased on a year-over-year basis. Spending is totally under the control of the Board with the exception of PSERS contribution. In that case, the Board had an accumulated Fund Balance category to address "Future Retirement Plan Rate Stabilization" which totaled $15.3 MM until 7/1/12. On that day the Board elected to re-allocate $10.3 MM of that balance. Maybe it's time to consider using some of this accumulated taxpayer money for the purpose for which it is intended? It would obviate the need for most of the Referendum Exception tax increase. I'm encouraged to see more private citizens at these meetings. While each has their own reason for coming out, more and more taxpayers are taking a hard look at the District's tax levying policies and they should...
Bob Byrne January 08, 2013 at 04:32 PM
I think members of the school board, based at least on their public comments, would join you in applauding more public participation and attendance at full board and committee meetings. The board's Finance Committee meeting will have its next scheduled meeting on Monday, January 14 at 7p.m.. at the district's Administrative Offices (940 West Valley Road, Suite 1700 in Wayne). That's when they really dig into the numbers and get the most up to date budget projections from the district's administrative staff. If you are interested in the budget and school taxes it is a good meeting to attend and an opportunity to ask questions of the committee that makes recommendations to the full board. The next full school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 28th. In the meantime, many board members read these articles and you are welcome to share your thoughts/comments on the budget and taxes here on Patch, just as Version and Neal have!


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