Following up on my last post about the Great Valley School District, I think that I am beginning to understand their resident involvement. One of the best parts of Community Matters is that readers bring new information to the discussion. I received a comment from ‘Berwyn Reader’ that offered interesting insight on the Great Valley School District (GVSD) residents and their ability ‘to hold the line’ on school tax increases. A few years ago, Brian O’Neill of O’Neill Properties (Worthington project) asked GVSD to be a lender on his Worthington project. In the end, GVSD choose not to lend money to O’Neill. However, because of residents concerns, Great Valley Stakeholders was formed about 18 months ago and has become a sort of watchdog organization for the Great Valley residents. The purpose of the Great Valley Stakeholders is to provide information to the public and School Board to ensure fiscal responsibility, transparency and better communication between school board and taxpayers.
Here’s hoping that Community Matters will be able to provide similar information to taxpayers and Tredyffrin Easttown School District school board members. Many of our residents who have provided commentary to this site on the school district topic have helped us better understand our own budgetary process.
Beyond the current 2010-11 school budget discussion, I remain concerned that many of our taxpayers do not understand the PSERS (Public School Employees Retirement System) teacher pension plan and how our taxes are going to be affected as a result. I found an interesting statement from the Commonwealth Foundation on pensions. The Commonwealth Foundation is an independent, non-profit research and educational institute that develops and advances public policies based on the nation’s founding principles of limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility.
Public Pensions: Beginning in 2012-13, taxpayers will see a dramatic increase in their contributions to pension plans for state and school district employees. This scenario is due in large part to misguided policy decisions-including substantial increases in pension benefits in 2001 and 2002, and deferring increased payments following fund losses-as well as the recent downturn in the stock market. Pension contributions are estimated to rise by $1,360 per homeowner/household, resulting in higher property and state taxes. Additionally, local pension plans are facing major deficits. . .
A few weeks ago a opinion article written by Thomas Gentzel, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer. This commentary titled, Change Pennsylvania Pension System or Prepare for Catastrophe should be a must-read for all taxpayers! Here’s the link: