Just How High Did School Taxes Climb?

In the 2006-07 school year, the median school tax rate in Allegheny County for all districts (excluding Clairton, which has separate land and building rates) was 21.62 mills (2.16%). That was the first school year after which Allegheny County Council expressly declared that it would be using a base year assessment plan and would not be conducting any reassessments.

For the school year that just began at the beginning of July (the 2012-13 school year) the median school tax rate for those same 42 districts was 23.275 mills (2.32%). The median rate grew by 8% for all districts.

But not all districts boosted taxes in that time frame. As a blog last week noted, nine districts either cut tax rates or left them unchanged. Grouping together the 33 districts where taxes went up shows that the median rate for those districts went from 21.5 mills to 24.16 mills, or 12% higher, over the time period. Ten of those 33 districts had tax increases of 12% or more: ranging from 25% in South Fayette to 12% in Bethel Park. Average or above-average increases came in such districts as Elizabeth-Forward (17%), Upper St Clair (15%), and Gateway (13%). Recall too that much of this time frame was spent living under the requirements of Act 1, which tries to limit the magnitude of annual tax increases but provides ample opportunities for districts to secure exceptions for large tax increases.