Community Matters has been focused on Mt. Pleasant and sidewalks lately, but I think it is probably time to re-focus attention on TESD and the 2010-11 budget. The Finance Committee Meeting has been changed from April 12 to April 19, 7:30 PM at Conestoga HS, please note the change. Click here for the District’s update on the March 22 School Board Meeting.
At the District Budget Meeting held earlier this month, there was EIT vs. PIT (Earned Income Tax vs. Personal Income Tax) discussion. School Board member Debbie Bookstaber asked whether a PIT could be considered under Act 511 – a personal income tax that taxes all income, earned and unearned with social security and pension income exempt. Debbie was a member of the Tax Study Commission and sees the PIT as a fairer tax if an income-based tax were adopted. It was agreed there would be follow-up information provided at the April 19 Finance Committee Meeting. I wonder if the District solicitor has weighed in on the discussion. Here are some questions that might generate discussion:
- Can the school district impose a PIT on the residents?
- Does Act 511 permit the District imposing PIT?
- Would imposing PIT require voter referendum?
- Would the imposition of PIT reduce property taxes?
- Is a voter referendum required for EIT?
- If there was an EIT, how would the split of revenue work between Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships?
- Does an EIT reduce the property tax bill?
- Would both townships be required to have an EIT in place to receive the revenue? Or, would the townships receive their portion of the school district’s EIT revenue?
- Would there be a difference to the teacher unions in regards to an EIT or PIT?
Remember, the TESD 2010-11 budget has a substantial deficit — salaries and escalating pensions and health care benefits are driving the expenses upwards. The District has some hard decisions to make about these current and future District benefits. I recently received an email from Malvern resident Ray Clarke, which offers interesting information:
” . . In many NJ school districts the unions have accepted salary freezes and contributions to health benefits costs. The Governor has piled on, calling on unions in all districts to do so. At the state level the NJEA is resisting the call, framing Christie as “the rich man’s governor” because he is not imposing a surtax on incomes over $400,000. Locally, though, 64% of districts are talking to their teachers about re-opening contracts, while nearly all the rest are at the end of contracts and negotiating new ones. . . “
- Where does our School Board stand on the issue of the teacher’s contract?
- Should the TEEA (Tredyffrin Easttown Education Association) teachers union be asked to help with the budget resolution?
- Has the TEEA made formal suggestions to the School Board on ways to help reduce teacher-related expenses?
- What about the state, . . . does the Governor have an obligation to the school districts and their residents?