School Tax Rate Changes in Allegheny County
School district tax rates changes for 41 school districts in Allegheny County that operate on a July 1st-June 30th fiscal year show tax increases in 27 districts, no change in 13 districts, and a decrease in one compared to 2017-18 rates.
This fiscal year marks the twelfth in which school district tax increases are controlled by the Act 1 index. A district that enacts an increase that exceeds the upper limit of the index must either be granted an exception from the PA Department of Education or submit a referendum question to the voters of the district. For this year the index ranged from a high of 3.9% to a low of 2.4% for the districts.
Of the 27 tax increases 10 districts enacted increases that stayed below the index, 7 districts enacted increases that equaled the index, and 10 districts exceeded the index. Chartiers Valley School District did have a ballot question (the first one in Allegheny County under Act 1) which was defeated but also applied for an exception which allowed taxes to increase 2.8% compared to the Index of 2.4%. The largest increase was in the McKeesport School District where taxes increased 2.11 mills from 17.37 mills to 19.48 mills (12.1%). Districts that increased to or below the index did not have to take any special action.
Taxes remain the same in such districts as Bethel Park, East Allegheny, and Pine-Richland. The Wilkinsburg School District, which only operates elementary schools, reduced its millage rate from 32.63 to 29.5 mills. Based on budget documents each mill in the district generates $311,322, so overall collections of current property taxes should decrease from $10.1 million to $9.1 million.
For homeowners, school property taxes are offset by homestead exemptions paid for by slot machine gaming funds. For 2018-19, the estimated relief ranges from $73 per homestead in the Avonworth School District to $414 in the Duquesne School District.