At the January 23, 2017 School Board meeting, the Tredyffrin/Easttown School Board adopted a resolution opposing legislation that would eliminate school property taxes. This proposal is currently being considered by state legislators and, if passed, has the potential to leave schools dramatically underfunded by eliminating school property taxes and replacing them with increases in personal income tax and sales tax, which are subject to shortfalls during economic downturns.
Education advocates are indicating that the legislative proposal
will resemble Senate Bill 76, which
failed in the Pennsylvania Senate by one vote in November 2015. Below is a
summary of key components of Senate Bill 76:
- School districts
will be prohibited from levying a property tax except to pay for existing
debt. County government and local
municipalities will be able to levy a property tax but school districts
will no longer be able to do so.
- The statewide
Personal Income Tax would increase from 3.07% to 4.95%.
- Statewide sales
and use tax would increase from 6% to 7% and the list of items and
services to which the tax would apply would expand (such as legal services
and mental health services) as well as items such as most food and
generated from these tax increases would be allocated to individual districts
based on current levels.
The shift from the property tax to the income tax and sales tax
will have a harmful effect on the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District. Many of our District’s top quality programs
result from careful planning and funding at the local level with a strategic
focus on providing our students what they need to succeed in tomorrow’s world. This
legislation will strip TESD of the ability to function independently,
effectively making local authorities dependent upon Harrisburg. Funding will flow through the state,
eliminating financial discretion for local districts. High quality programs that exceed state
mandates and minimum standards require funding currently provided locally. TESD will experience numerous and severe
consequences if this plan is enacted, including the following:
- Local control of
education funding shifts to the State. A local district would be
prohibited from raising local funds to run student programs.
- The State budget
would dictate the District's budget, and school finances may be imperiled
by state-level political disputes.
- Except for taxes
to pay for existing debt, the majority of businesses would pay nothing to
support the schools, shifting the entire burden to individuals.
- The proposal
prohibits school districts from incurring new debt without a referendum,
which would threaten the District's ability to maintain and repair
- Delays in
receiving funds from the State or insufficient allocation of school funds
may cause dramatic cuts to student programs and staff.
inequities among school districts would be fixed into the new system and
Contact Your Legislators
Tell the Governor and your State Legislators to oppose school
property tax elimination. The District
encourages interested parents and community members to send correspondence to
legislators, whose contact information is available below. At
the request of community members, a sample letter opposing the elimination of school property taxes is provided. Community members are invited
to send their own letters or to modify the sample letter if preferred.
Governor Tom Wolf's Office (D)
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120
PA House of Representatives
Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman (D)
One North Church Street
West Chester, PA 19380
Phone: (610) 692-2112
Fax: (610) 436-1721
Hon. Warren Kampf (R)
42 East Lancaster Ave., Unit A
Paoli, PA 19301
Phone: (610) 251-2876
Fax: (610) 640-2357
Sen. Thomas J. McGarrigle (R)
610 Lancaster Avenue
Berwyn, PA 19312
Phone: (610) 296-3474
Fax: (610) 296-3147
Hon. Duane Milne (R)
70 Lancaster Ave., Suite B
Malvern, PA 19355
Phone: (610) 251-1070
Fax: (610) 251-1074
For Additional Information
Please contact Dr. Wendy Towle, Ad Hoc Legislative Committee Administrative Liaison, (610) 240-1903.