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School Board Resolves Not to Raise Taxes Above State Limit

Detailed budgets for the 2013-14 school year are being worked on now.

The Upper St. Clair School Board unanimously adopted Monday night a resolution not to go above the Act 1 tax index for the 2013-14 school year.

The Act 1 index for the next budget is .437 mills—or an increase of 1.7 percent.

The adopted resolution means the board will not request for any tax exemptions from the state this year.

When the board approved a tax hike last year, they agreed they would not raise taxes for the 2013-14 school year. A final decision will be made this summer.

William Johns January 30, 2013 at 12:15 PM
How about not raising taxes AT ALL!
PK3 January 30, 2013 at 12:18 PM
How many years in a row has the USCSB raised taxes? Keep up the good work USCSB.
Mark Trombetta January 30, 2013 at 12:25 PM
The Standard Bolas/Petersen slight of hand here. Remember that the County reassessed everyone's taxes and the District is allowed a 5% increase windfall due to this. In effect, they have raised our taxes an additional 5% this year and it looks as if they didn't. This slippery pair have been there too long.
Oren Spiegler January 30, 2013 at 12:53 PM
I applaud all that have commented thusfar. If the Board is expecting thanks for a potential tax increase this year of "only" the maximum allowed by law, it can forget it. Let us recall last year's increase, which, with the acquiescence of the State Department of Education, far exceeded the maximum, and which was devised to provide a cushion for future anticipated liabilities. It is fortunate for the current Board members that there are a sufficient number of community residents whose obvious credo is "In the Upper Saint Clair School Board We Trust." The Board members have contributed mightily to making this a community in which the middle class cannot afford to live. Perhaps that is by design.
Mary Derubeis January 30, 2013 at 01:18 PM
I was wondering the same thing.
Judy January 30, 2013 at 02:03 PM
"When the board approved a tax hike last year, they agreed they would not raise taxes for the 2013-14 school year." So why are they even considering another raise this year? Liars/Incompetence/greed/good 'ole boy network at their best (or maybe worst). This board needs to go . . . but we've been saying that for many, many years, and the same ones continue to be re-elected. Taxation without representation reigns in this township.
B January 30, 2013 at 02:51 PM
I am going to have to agree with others here, they had a tax increase far and above the amount allowed by the state. They then got a 'free' 5% increase already. ANY further increase would be greedy and just further show that this school board is either unable to manage money properly or unable to make the decisions that need to be made to cut costs.
Bill January 30, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Yes, have they EVER considered not raising taxes AT ALL?? There are certain long-term members of the board who have never seen a tax increase they did not like. Are there any candidates running for the board this year on a no-tax-increase platform? Let's all work hard to get them elected and stop these constant tax increases.
USC Lifer January 30, 2013 at 03:45 PM
You know, you folks are being a bit hasty. Act 1 requires that a school board adopt a preliminary budget in FEBRUARY if it plans to raise taxes above the limit. All the Board did was signify its intention to not go ABOVE the limit, thus negating the requirement of the preliminary budget adoption. The Resolution does not mean that there will in fact be a tax increase up to the Act 1 limit. Let the adminstration work on the budget over the next several months and we'll see what they come up with. In the meantime, if you want to do something HELPFUL, contact your state legislatures to tell them to fix the pension system in the Commonwealth, to stave off what are sure to be major tax increases at the state AND local leve.
Charles Schardong January 30, 2013 at 04:26 PM
It is NOT hasty to recognize the duplicity involved. Raising taxes the year BEFORE the assessment and then seeking praise for not doing it again this year is totally disingenuous.
Duke January 30, 2013 at 08:17 PM
I believe the governing bodies of Upper St. Clair Township want to drive out the middle class and retirees because they do not pay enough in earned income taxes!
Judy January 30, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Here is a link for contact info for the school board. We all need to make our voices heard; after all, last year Ms. Peterson claimed that no one had called or emailed her to oppose the tax increase. I, for one, will not let her be able to claim that this year. http://www.uscsd.k12.pa.us//Domain/17
Judy January 30, 2013 at 09:43 PM
I was at the board meeting when they voted to raise the school tax. They stated that they would go for the maximum so they would not have to raise taxes for 2013-14. I knew that was a lie then, but what are we peons to do about it? Again I say, taxation without representation.
Glenn Robinson January 30, 2013 at 10:30 PM
I will go everyone a step further. I believe with a concerted effort, the Board could actually reduce taxes and maintain the quality of education USC provides. I am not saying it would be easy, but an all out effort should be made.
Robin January 30, 2013 at 11:23 PM
Wow - all day and nobody blamed the USC Rec Center. Isn't that the bane of Uppity St. Clair's everyday life? You all need to get a clue, grow up and see the world. Escape the bubble if you can or are you not so brave? Bill and Duke, take a drink of something positive for once. You honestly might like it. Oren - really? Stick to the national scene or run for office since you have a fix for everything. Does anyone else like the term "spieglering" for all negative, self esteemless nonsense posted on the patch?
DanielBosh January 31, 2013 at 02:33 AM
USC Lifer appears to be one of the few people here who understands how local government in Pennsylvania works. Local governments' power in this state is really restricted compared to those in other states. The reasons why are somewhat complex, but the bottom line is that a local school district doesn't really have a lot of flexibility when it comes to funding the public employees pension fund. They are obligated by state law to do it. And their only means of accomplishing that is by raising property taxes or drastically cutting essential municipal government services like snow removal, street repair, public libraries, police services, fire services, animal control services, trash removal, sewage treatment and schools. Anybody who honestly examines this complex issue will see that the problem has to be solved at the state level. If the state doesn't solve it, then your property taxes will continue to skyrocket and the most basic functions of government will suffer. So USC Lifer is absolutely correct. When your volunteer local government representatives have to repeatedly raise your (and their own) taxes it is because the career politicians in Harrisburg don't want to make the tough choices to solve the problem and they realize they can get off scot-free by doing nothing because people like Judy here will mindlessly blame their local officials instead of rightfully placing the blame on Harrisburg.
Oren Spiegler January 31, 2013 at 09:54 AM
There is plenty of blame to be placed on the General Assembly for failing to address the pension issue and other matters, but Mr. Bosh's post assumes that the only reason taxes are being raised again and again is pensions. That is not correct. The Board has overspent throughout the years on a host of fronts, including school renovations, sports programs, salaries, and benefits, and the level of salaries and benefits drives the amount that must now be paid for unrealistic pension promises. Additionally, last year's mammoth tax increase was enacted in order to provide a cushion for future liabilities, a practice which we have seen lead to an accelerated spending level. What the General Assembly should do is to eliminate the property tax in favor of another, less subjective and inequitable tax or taxes, an initiative for which various viable plans have been floated. Despite decades of "debate", it has not had the courage to do so.
Oren Spiegler January 31, 2013 at 10:28 AM
I would also note that in 2001, the General Assembly and "conservative" governor Tom Ridge accelerated the pension problem by hiking legislative pensions by a whopping 50%, and bringing along public school teachers and state employees for a 25% boost in order to deflect the flak that would otherwise have been directed at the greedy members for feathering their own nests. Upper Saint Clair's "conservative" House member and CPA John Maher, whose November 2012 Auditor General campaign signs are still posted on Banksville Road three months after the election, voted for the hike (as well as the 2005 middle of the night legislative pay grab). What type of conservatism does he practice? None of these pension hikes should have been enacted as the defined benefit plans in place at the time were generous, enabling an employee to retire after 35 years of service with approximately 70% of their highest year's salary. While state employees contributed at least 6.25% of their gross salaries to fund the enhanced pensions, Governors Ridge and Rendell and their General Assemblies provided little or no employer funding of them, bringing us to the current crisis. In eight years in office, Mr. Rendell, to my knowledge, did not ever mention the pension calamity let alone seek to address it in any way. Now the problem of at least a $44 billion shortfall is dumped into the lap of Tom Corbett with no easy answers. Does Governor Rendell feel any shame or remorse. It is not likely.
Duke January 31, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Robin - The only thing I can say positive after reading your post is Bill and Duke and Oren have escaped the bubble and are posting relevant facts that some mentally challenged individuals cannot comprehend!
Judy January 31, 2013 at 03:56 PM
To Daniel Bosch, I am totally aware of the pension mess that our legislature created. However, our school board also created a fiscal mess when for years they freely and continuously raised taxes for any and everything they wanted. And Oren is correct - last year's outrageous increase was to provide a surplus so they wouldn't "have" to raise taxes this year. Where is that surplus now? Yes, I blame our local school board for the mess they've made. Having to fund the PSERS is one thing; taxing us additionally for all the fluff they want is another.

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