Great Valley School Board Votes to Keep Tax Increase within Act 1 Index of 2.9% . . . But at What Price?
On January 13, I wrote about the ‘standing room only’ crowd at the Great Valley School District (GVSD) budget meeting. (Here’s the link for that post). This week the GVSD board held their regular business meeting with 300 residents in attendance; the major topic was the $3.2 million deficit in their proposed 2010-11 budget. With a projected budget of $78.3 million, the school board voted 6-2 to keep any increase in taxes within the state’s Act 1 index of 2.9%.
Applying for an exception to Act 1, would have allowed the school district to raise taxes as high as 4.7%. Some of the school board members argued that by keeping the tax increase to the 2.9% rate may force the administration in to making some drastic cuts in programs and/or personnel. (However, in the end by a margin of 6-2, the school board votes in favor of using the Act 1 index). There were many residents in the audience who wanted to hold the line on tax increases to the 2.9% or less; some expecting 0% tax increase. There did not seem to be an explanation as to how the budget deficit would be handled; no clear cut answer as to what programs (or people) might find themselves on the cutting block. Because the school board decided not to seek exception to Act 1, a preliminary budget approval is not required until April. The school board will continue the discussion at the finance committee meeting in early February.
Does this news from our neighbors have any effect on us taxpayers in the Tredyffrin Easttown School District? The taxpayers of GVSD have taken a stand (and it appears that the new school board members agreed) to do whatever was necessary to balance the budget, just not raise taxes beyond the 2.9% threshold. Do you agree with their decision? Would you rather see TESD hold the line at all costs — rather than increase taxes above the 2.9% Act 1 index? This decision is going to require GVSD to make major cuts in program/personnel . . . how are the school board members going to make that decision? With the large program cuts required in the Great Valley School District, I certainly would not want to be the person making up the list of programs/personnel for the cutting block!