NA, costs & taxes
North Allegheny's superintendent posted a letter in June on the school district's website to indicate the possibility of a referendum to increase taxes by $10 million for 2013-14. Now, the school board is considering the administration's recommendation to close one elementary school to save costs (“Community group questions North Allegheny enrollment projections,” Dec. 6 and TribLIVE.com).
The problem seems to be that savings from the closing amount to only $850,000, which still leaves a deficit of $9.15 million and brings us back to the possibility of a referendum on a tax increase of that magnitude in the May primary.
This follows three consecutive years of tax increases, when our millage has gone from 18.99 to 20.923, a little more than a 10-percent increase. A $10 million tax increase next year would add close to 8 percent on top of that. And this is not the end, because the district is projecting annual tax increases for the foreseeable future.
Per-pupil cost is $15,381. This means NA is already spending more on education than any other district in suburban Allegheny County. Continued tax increases will take our costs into the stratosphere.
The veteran board members who have been through it all the last few years have to look at the whole plan differently and come up with a different solution. What we are looking at is unacceptable and I predict that the $10 million referendum would not pass.
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