Parkland Press

Sunday, February 17, 2019

School taxes to increase

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 by SUSAN RUMBLE Special to The Press in Local News

The Parkland School Board has approved a resolution to increase taxes for the 2018-19 school year no higher than the 2.4 percent Act 1 Index calculated for the district by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Business Manager John Vignone said the department of education blends the statewide average weekly wage with the national employment cost index into a formula to derive a base index for each school district.

As Parkland is considered a wealthier school, its index is on the lowest tier. An economically challenged district would have a higher allowable index.

Remaining within the index streamlines the process somewhat, while also avoiding the need to apply for exceptions, if a greater increase is necessary to balance the budget.

Parkland’s proposed 2018-19 budget totals $180.3 million in expenditures and $172.4 million in revenue, leaving a $7.9 million deficit.

To narrow the shortfall, the district plans to take $7 million from its fund balance toward the budget.

The remainder, around $900,000, still needed to be located as of Jan. 23.

Vignone said new construction in the district is “trending good” which should bring additional revenue.

The other potential source of income will be through increased employment in the area, as workers pay the earned income tax.

He noted administrative staff are also looking for ways to reduce expenditures.

With the 2.4 percent index, the maximum millage rate will be 15.49, a 0.36-mill increase over the present term.

That would result in a $36 increase for every $100,000 of assessed property.

The owner of a $200,000 home would pay a maximum of $72 more in property tax with the 2018-19 budget.

Vignone said there’s a chance the millage may be less than 15.49.

“That is definitely what we’re shooting for,” Vignone said. “Between adjustments in revenues and expenditures, we’ll see if that can take us even lower.”