Approving budgets and tax rates is one of the most important functions of our school board. On Monday June 15, the Board will approve the 2015-16 budget and the tax rates that go with it.
Although the expense budget is set, there has been a lively debate about the millage rates needed to fund that budget. At our June 8 school board working session, several community members expressed their opinions about tax rates, and many board members also offered their views.
Below are the remarks I offered at the work session:
On the Budget, I think it is critical that we manage our finances for the long-term, and that we maintain our historically conservative approach to financial matters. We have a strong credit rating, which reflects our history of careful decision making, efficient operations, and respect for our taxpayers. The expense side of our 2015-2016 budget is set, and I think we have a responsible expense budget. Our programs are fully funded. There are no cuts to programs, no changes to class sizes, no investments needed that have been turned down.
Where we do have a decision to make is in how we raise the revenue to cover those expenses.
As noted in UCF This Week:
There will be a budget hearing this coming Monday, at 7:00 PM in the district office. Financial plans and budgets are important. They support district priorities and provide the funding needed to support our mission. The public is encouraged to come to the meeting and engage in the process. For those who can’t attend, there will be a live stream available on the district website and an archive of the video will be available for review Tuesday morning. If needed, there will be additional budget hearings Tuesday and Wednesday.
The district presentation does a good job of describing how the budget is developed, and how millage rates are calculated. I appreciate that transparency and clarity. The “base case” shows an average millage increase of 2.85%. Please come to the meeting tonight in the District Office, or email me with questions or comments prior to the final budget vote on June 15.
Are our property taxes high in Chester County? What about the property taxes that are paid to UCFSD? Perhaps you have wondered how our taxes compare to national, state, and county averages. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a non-partisan policy research group, recently published a report on Property Tax burdens in Pennsylvania.
Their key findings, as published in their press release , are: