Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pottsgrove Tax Hike Stops Short of 0%

The Pottsgrove School board stopped short of enacting a $63.9 million budget that did not raise taxes Tuesday night.

Instead, they adopted a $63, 916,463 budget that raises taxes a little bit, under 1 percent in fact.

The final budget the board adopted will raise taxes by .2 mills, or .55 percent.

For a home assessed at $120,000, the district median, it means a tax hike of $24 in the 2015-16 school year.

A number of assumptions and financial maneuvering was requited to get to this point, including the use of $200,000 of district surplus funds; the assumption that the state budget, whenever its finalized, will provide an additional $100,000 in funding over this year; and using $80,000 of capital fund money to buy one of three new school buses the district plans to buy next year.

There was some spirited rhetoric required to get to this resolution with board member Matt Alexander calling School Board President Justin Valentine a "hypocrite" for invoking the Sunshine Law in explaining why he had not responded to suggestions from Alexander on ways to cut spending.

Board member Rick Rabinowitz cast the only set of votes against the budget motions, arguing consistently that a combination of factors -- including more than $500,000 saved in a bond re-financing approved Tuesday night -- made this the only year a 05 tax hike could be achieved.

Another $205,000 in revenues or savings added to the new budget would have driven the tax hike down to zero.

But the budget was not the only major action taken Tuesday night.

The board also approved the change from a 7-point grading scale to a 10-point grading scale.

You can read all about it in the extremely long collection of Tweets from an extremely long school board meeting.

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