Tredyffrin Easttown School District – 7.2% Tax Increase Possible

In an update from the Tredyffrin Easttown School District, it is stated that there is a deficit of $1.5 million in the current school year (2009-2010) budget.  This deficiency plus the current economic situation is affecting the 2010-11 budget decisions.  It is anticipated that the 2010-11 school year’s expenses will exceed revenues by approximately $8 million!  Act 1 of the 2006 Pennsylvania Tax Relief Act allows for a 2.9% increase.  The 2.9% tax increase would provide additional $2 million revenue.  This tax increase would not require voter referendum to pass.  The School Board has not raised taxes above the annual index since Act 1’s enactment in 2006. However, even with the 2.9% tax increase, a $6 million deficit remains in the budget. 

The School Board is allowed to increase taxes above the annual index based on specific allowable exceptions.  The District’s analysis confirmed the eligibility for exceptions in (1) state mandated retirement rate increase, (2) special education and (3) maintenance of selected revenues.  If these options are applied for and approved by the State, the School Board would have an option of raising taxes up to an additional 4.3% – combined with the allowable Act 1 increase of 2.9%, taxpayers could be looking at an increase of 7.2%!  We understand that the current economic situation presents a real struggle for the School Board and the administration, but how to balance the budget?  How do you want the School Board to balance the budget?  Do they greatly increase taxes, reduce services, eliminate programs (such as FLES), increase existing fees, charge for extra-curriculum programs? 

Tonight’s discussion at the School Board meeting should be very interesting — 7:30 PM at Conestoga HS.  Come out and let your voice be heard!  Here is a link to the agenda, October meeting minutes, correspondence and financials.

Tredyffrin Easttown School District’s FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary School) – Budget Cut?

There is a T/E School Board meeting tonight at 7:30 PM.  One of the major  discussions tonight will be the possible elimination of the FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary School) program.  Many T/E parents strongly support the continuance of foreign language learning at the elementary school level.  They believe that the T/E middle school foreign language program is accelerated compared to other school districts as a result of FLES.  An online petition opposing the elimination of FLES has had 571 signatures since November 12 – click here for the petition.  Will the supporters of FLES prevail?  Stay tuned.

I’m hearing that our proposed school tax increase may be as high as 7.2%.  Let’s hope that this isn’t so — let me do some further checking.