FC Not Keen on 76
“…Radical changes in education funding”
“Loss of local control of our education dollars…”
“Class sizes will increase…”
Yesterday’s blog covered the negative reaction to a proposed tax shift on school district property taxes that may arise in the General Assembly this year (nothing has been introduced yet, but there is a co-sponsorship memorandum) in central Pennsylvania. Tonight there is a forum at the Fox Chapel School District on the proposed legislation.
An article from last week quotes the District’s spokesperson as saying “The research we have gathered from multiple organizations shows that increasing income and sales tax will not replace property taxes dollar-for-dollar.” Based on the latest Department of Education data through the Summaries of Annual Financial Reports (AFR) in 2014-15 Fox Chapel Area raised $70.6 million in local revenue–that ranked it 57th in the state in terms of local revenue raised–and received $15 million from the state (178th from the top). FC Area raised $16,576 per-pupil locally that year, ranking it just behind Quaker Valley in the County. This would be one of the districts that would receive a lot of state money to swap out local dollars under the plan.
If the proposed legislation does what the memorandum states, that is, to “…replace dollar-for-dollar the revenues lost by the school property tax elimination” then the research gathered by FC Area is obviously at odds with this provision. And the memorandum says that after all property taxes are eliminated a district could go to its voters and ask to boost earned income or personal income taxes via a ballot referendum, which the backers of the proposal say is “…the greatest form of local control”, not a point of view held by the District.