Chartiers Valley School District residents to see taxes go up
Chartiers Valley School District residents will be paying more in real estate taxes in 2019-20.
In a 6-2 vote, board members approved the district’s $67.4 million 2019-20 budget, that includes a .4885 mill increase. This takes the millage rate up to 17.5595 mills for 2019-20.
Board members Jeff Choura and Brian Kopec voted against the motion. Board member Sandy Zeleznik was absent.
The median homeowner, with a residential property value of $132,400, will see an increase in their real estate taxes of $64.68.
“Chartiers Valley is facing the same challenges as all school districts in Pa.,” Emily Eckman, director of finance & operations, said. “Pension cost, charter school tuition, maintenance and operations and transportation costs continue to rise while federal and state funding remains stagnant or decreases. In addition to these costs drivers, the district has not raised taxes consistently to keep up with the rising costs.”
Under the state’s Act 1, the highest Chartiers Valley could raise its real estate taxes under the state issued index of 2.3 percent for the district for 2019-20 was 17.4636 mills. The district applied for and received exceptions from the Pennsylvania Department of Education for pension and special education costs, allowing it to raise real estate taxes by an additional increase of .0959 mills to 17.5595 mills. The exceptions will bring in an additional $225,183 in revenues.
One mill in Chartiers Valley brings in about $2.2 million.
To balance the budget, the district transferred $934,591 from its debt service fund to the general fund to be used towards debt service payments. District leaders opted not to make any debt service payments directly from the district’s capital reserve fund.
The district’s general fund balance also was not tapped to balance the budget.
As of June 30, 2019, the district projected having roughly $1.5 million in its general fund balance.
In pulling together the 2019-20 budget, Chartiers Valley used a zero-based budgeting process.
District leaders have said that this, unlike traditional budgeting methods, focuses on the needs of each department and not historical increases.
“We are reviewing each area and determining what is best for the district,” Eckman said. “So, yes, some additions have occurred and yes, some cuts have occurred, but none of these are necessarily related to the budget constraints.”