Schools oppose state ballot question

Letter in Daily Local News, 10/22/17, from WCASD superintendent Jim Scanlon

As a supporter of our public schools and the belief that every American child deserves the right to a quality public education, I’m writing to ask for your action at the polls regarding a legislative proposal that could seriously impact the quality of our schools.

Many educators are very concerned about a November 7 ballot question that asks whether the Pennsylvania Constitution should be amended to allow local taxing authorities to exempt homeowners from paying property taxes. We strongly feel the answer to this question should be “NO.”

This ballot question doesn’t include the critical piece of information that according to state law, another source of revenue must be created to replace local property taxes. Legislators are considering that the new revenue source could come from increases in other taxes, in the form of Senate Bill 76. Under SB 76, Income Tax will go up from 3.07% currently to 4.95%, sales tax will go from 6% to 7% and the list of items to be taxed would increase. Those new revenue sources would go directly to the state, and it would be up to the state to determine how much each school district would receive.

This means that under this new funding formula, the state could decide to give more money to urban districts and less to suburban ones, like West Chester. Or, they could determine another complicated funding formula that would once again leave funding up to the state and take away our local control.

Harrisburg struggles to balance its own budget. The General Assembly currently doesn’t have a revenue budget for the current year. How can we leave our own school funding up to them?…

keep reading at Daily Local News. See also downloadable statement at WCASD. The WCASD School Board voted 8-0 on Oct. 23 to recommend a No vote. We need to protect ourselves against more budget antics in H’burg, where months ago the R majority passed an unfunded budget. You can’t just hope money will appear from somewhere!

WC board made the right call on tax hike

editorial, Daily Local News, 4/29/15

The West Chester Area School District School Board voted to approve its 2015-2016 budget that includes a tax increase of 1.9 percent.

Now before anyone starts to yell or scream it should be noted that the average dollar amount increase is about the price of any couple having a nice dinner out – about 70 bucks.

Of course there will always be folks who oppose any tax increases and there are times when we agree with them. But in this instance, the $70 hike shouldn’t cause anyone a financial burden.

The budget, approved by a 5-2 majority Monday night, is seeing an increase of $6.4 million over last year due primarily to mandated expenses the district has no control over.

“While our expenses are going up $8.8 million, about 80 percent of that is beyond our control, including PSERS, charter tuitions, special ed, benefits and salaries that have already been contracted,” said board member Robin Kaliner….

keep reading at Daily Local News

State Supreme Court rules for West Chester school district

By Kelly Lyons, Daily Local News, 10/01/14

West Goshen >> After a six-year-long battle between the West Chester Area School District and the Friends of Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court determined it was unconstitutional to require the school district to refund Friends its property taxes paid from 2008 through 2010 in a decision made Wednesday, Sept. 24….

keep reading at Daily Local News