In my local school district taxes are going up by the full 3.1 mills allowed by the state.This despite weak economic factors and growing unemployment. It seems to be a trend that school districts ignore the fact that they (along with the rest of us) have to cut back when times are tough.
Yet even our state official earn some blame here. The increase would have been a fraction of that amount except for the district successfully applied for exceptions from the Pennsylvania Department of Education that gave the school board the power to raise the millage rate beyond the annual index amount without having to obtain voter approval of a ballot referendum. How nice. How many of you think that vote would have passed?
This year's (2009-10) budget deficit is expected to be about $1 million. Currently there is $1.8 million in the reserve fund, with $800,000 allotted to balance this year's budget.
The budgetary future at Northgate is bleak, with state pension contributions escalating in the next few years to increase schools’ expenditures in that area by millions of dollars. The alarm has been ringing for some time now. It can no longer be ignored. Districts, union and our state leaders need to take a long hard look at the future of education in our state. We are paying more and often seeing less in the way of results and improving test scores.
It's time to review basic math skills when it comes to budgeting.