Souderton Area school officials condemn the impact of unfunded mandates on the budget

FRANCONIA – With just over a month to go before the Souderton School Board’s final vote on the 2022-2023 budget, district officials are once again pointing to unfunded mandates as a factor contributing to rising local taxes.

The information included in the update of the budget of the Director of Business Michael Taylor at the meeting of the SASB Finance Committee on May 11, included a schedule showing increased costs and corresponding government compensation of employees, funding for special education and charter training at school for 2010-2011-2018 . 2019 school years.

“Planned spending has risen by $ 20,774,000, but revenue has risen by only $ 7,900,000, so it’s obviously putting pressure on our budgets and everyone’s budgets,” Taylor said. by the state. “

“It’s simple math, and you don’t need to be a business expert to look at it,” Chairman Ken Keith later said, referring to the chart.

“This is a recipe for disaster seven days a week. The problem that confuses me every year is that it gets worse every year, but the state and the federal people don’t do anything, so I don’t want to go to my soapbox, but at some point it has to end because everything will come down to this. The system will either explode and break, or the taxpayer will be crushed in the future, ”he said.

“It hurts to see,” Keith said, “but there must be a great awareness that the federal and state governments are setting education up to massive failure.”

The proposed district budget raises property taxes by 3.4 percent, the maximum allowed this year under a state restriction. District officials say the final tax increase, however, is expected to be smaller.

One of the remaining big questions that needs to be answered is the amount of public funding that will be received, Taylor said. It is expected to increase funding for education in the state budget, which is not yet decided, but the amount of the increase is not yet known.

Last year’s tax increase in the Souderton area was 0.87 percent, bringing the district’s current property tax rate to 30.5837 million, and the $ 5382.73 property tax for a homeowner was estimated at $ 176,000 on average in the district. Each plant equals $ 1 property tax per $ 1,000 of appraised property value.

In the last five years, taxes in the district have been increased by less than 1 percent. Two years ago, when the increase was more than 1 percent, in 2018-2019 it increased by 2.4 percent, and in 2019-2020 – by 1.45 percent.

In the latest version of the proposed budget, presented at the meeting on May 11, revenues from tax increases of 3.4 percent are 140,350,801 dollars. Expenditures are planned at $ 142,813,202. The extra money needed to balance the budget will come from $ 11,441,759, which is planned to be available in the district at the end of this school year. Forecasts of the impact on the balance of the tax increase fund by 2, 1 or 0 percent were also shown.

Additional changes in revenues and / or expenditures may be made before the final budget vote, district officials said. Voting is scheduled for a board meeting on Thursday, June 23, at 7 p.m.

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