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!

4 Seeking 2 seats in Region 1 of WCASD

By Candice Monhollan, Daily Local News, 10/28/15

Four West Chester residents vying for the West Chester Area School District’s (WCASD) two Region 1 school board seats in the General Election Nov. 3.

Fighting for the spots, with one incumbent, are Debra Maccariella, Vince Paul, Kate Shaw and incumbent Sue Tiernan….

read more at Daily Local News, (The Dems are Sue Tiernan and Kate Shaw.)

Exceptional Candidates for WCASD Director

from Better Direction for WCASD, 10/20/15

I am emailing you today to ask you to vote for Kate Shaw and Sue Tiernan for WCASD School Director for Region 1 on Tuesday, November 3rd. I am voting for Kate and Sue because they have proven that they serve the best interests of our school district and community. Can they count on your vote as well?

Both Kate and Sue have extensive backgrounds in education. Kate brings vast knowledge in developing and implementing educational policies, and Sue was instrumental in forming the board’s Legislative Action Committee to curb unfunded mandates, and she completed a three-year plan to address current and projected fiscal realities of the district. 

The schools board’s thoughtful budgeting allows WCASD to maintain the lowest millage in the county and helps to keep our property values high. Even the Daily Local News agrees! In an April, 2015 editorial, the DLN commended the board for the 2015-2016 budget – for appropriately limiting the impact to taxpayers while not drawing off the healthy reserve. Kate and Sue have shown they can balance the needs of the students and the taxpayers, now they deserve our vote.

Please vote for Kate Shaw and Sue Tiernan on Tuesday, November 3rd

In case you don’t know them already, here is some information on this dynamic and highly qualified team… Continue reading

Pre-K, schools concerned over state budget impasse

By Candice Monhollan, Daily Local News, 8/29/15

UPPER PROVIDENCE >> Almost two months into the state budget impasse, with no end currently in sight, schools and Pre-K classrooms are getting ready to welcome students to the 2015-16 year.

Unfortunately, that welcome comes with a strained smile as the impasse threatens many programs and puts a large toll on school districts across the Commonwealth.

“We typically receive the first of our subsidy payments in August, but that date has come and done,” said West Chester Area School District Superintendent Jim Scanlon. “Because we only receive about 15 percent of our funding from the state, we are still in pretty good shape to start the school year.”

Though the district will have no trouble opening Aug. 31, the impasse does hit it in regards to charter schools.

“There has been an impact to our charter school payments as we were expected to make those payments in August,” Scanlon said. “Without state funding, we withheld those payments, but we received work last week that the state will deduct payments from our tax-relief allocation, which we were supposed to receive this week.”

Charter schools will cost the district roughly $9.1 million during the 2015-16 school year.

“The state will be deducting the past month’s payments from our subsidy,” Scanlon said. “If all charters applied for the deduction, we will be paying one month’s worth of charter school payments from that $1.8 million in tax-relief funding, or approximately $758,000.”…

read more at Daily Local News

West Chester Has Two Schools Among Newsweek’s Top 500 Public High Schools In Country

by Jason Laday, West Chester Patch, 8/19/15

In Newsweek’s latest list of its top 500 public high schools across the nation for 2015, West Chester is represented twice.

West Chester East High School was ranked 420th, while West Chester Bayard Rustin High School came in at No. 455.

Newsweek released its annual list on Wednesday, just in time for the start of the school year.

Pennsylvania had 21 schools on the list of the top 500 across the nation, with Conestoga High, in Berwyn, ranked the highest among them….

keep reading at West Chester Patch

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