A Message from the Superintendent:
17 days ago
April 7, 2017
Report contends property tax elimination
would cost most people more
I am posting today an article taken from the Citizen's Voice, focused on legislation being considered in Harrisburg to eliminate local property taxes. The proposal calls for increases in state sales and income taxes to offset the lost revenue. On the surface, the elimination of property tax sounds like a "no-brainer".
The article cites a report that finds 2 negative consequences - perhaps unintended and certainly not talked about - of taking this approach. First, the average tax bill paid by PA citizens would actually increase by $338. Second, the actual funding derived from this new approach and distributed by Harrisburg would be significantly less next year than it is currently. This makes for significant budget instability and could force catastrophic spending readjustments (cut programs and staff) on already struggling districts. Ultimately, our kids would pay a high price.
Though few would argue that the current system for funding PA public schools is in need of overhaul, any changes made must be made carefully and with deliberate consideration of the potential consequences. Sometimes what seems to be a great thing in the short term view can indeed harbor ominous consequences in the longer term.
March 8, 2017
PA’s School-Based ACCESS Program is jeopardized under proposed federal cuts to Medicaid
With the coming of budget building season - at the district, state and federal levels - there are proposals and counter-proposals for just about everything it seems. Generally as government representatives and district administrators attempt to solve a particular problem (or group of problems), they offer proposals that seem likely to be effective solutions.
Unfortunately, a by-product of this process is often the unintended consequence - the circumstance that arises such that while the solution fixes one problem, the circumstance causes or intensifies another problem. Sometimes we see these unintended consequences right away. Sometimes we are surprised by them only after they take effect.
During this budget building season, I will share with you various aspects of the process that may have consequences - either known or unknown - on our district budget. You'll find these articles or analyses in the list of documents in the Superintendent's Newsletters Block. The latest of these involves an significant impact that contemplated federal reductions in Medicaid spending would have on local school district budgets.
February 26, 2017
PROPERTY TAX ELIMINATION PLAN DOES NOT WORK FOR TAXPAYERS OR SCHOOL DISTRICTS
The plan circulating the Capitol now is expected to be nearly identical to Senate Bill 76/House Bill 76 of the previous session. It shifts a significant burden of funding public schools onto other taxing mechanisms, including higher personal income taxes as well as a higher sales tax with an expanded base of what is subject to tax. The proposal also includes a referendum component.
In fact, the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) has stated that it would take $14 billion in alternative revenue sources to fill the void of eliminating property taxes in fiscal year 2016-17. That revenue hole is projected to reach $16.5 billion by 2021-22. That's how much would have to be collected in higher sales and income taxes to replace the lost local revenue. Past versions of this legislation have proven that the funds raised by other taxes never met the projected revenue need to keep up with the cost of funding education.
If you are interested in a fuller analysis of the issue as reported by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA), click on the "Elimantion Plan Does Not Work..." link in the list of articles below.
Dr. Tom Quinn,
February 20, 2017
A WORD ABOUT OUR DEVELOPMENT OF A STEM THREAD
As many of you know, among the curricular improvements that we are contemplating is the development of a STEM sequence, eventually running throughout grades K-12.
IF you have an interest in following our thinking and development of this thread, take a look at Cougar STEM Program, and A Case for Computer Coding. Also you can watch this site for further developments and articles of interest.
Dr. Tom Quinn,