The Coatesville Area School District is facing some difficult budget decisions as discussions began on the possible options at the school board meeting on March 8th. At present, the budget is set to increase by 3.6 percent to $154,794,245 for the 2016-17 school year, but debate still revolves around the best way to finance it, writes Lucas Rodgers for Daily Local News.
The original proposal for funding the budget was to increase property taxes by the 3.1 percent in the allowable index, however, there is an alternative proposal that would increase property taxes 2.48 percent and include some minor reductions in personnel expenses, social security, retirement subsidies and real estate tax revenue.
There was also debate over the district’s bonds, as there is a one-time option to refinance them to create a more stable long-term financial environment. However, this alternative could create some near term financial difficulties. The situation boils down to a choice between short-term pain through tax increases and long-term gain with better bond ratings or vice versa.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Vince Rose, the President of the Parent Teacher Association at Caln Elementary School, voiced his concern about the district’s spending on bonds as well as tuition for students living in the district but attending charter schools.
“We have to figure out why we’re spending all this money on charter schools, why parents and kids think they’re getting a better education elsewhere,” said Rose. “That’s the biggest problem this district faces, and it will continue to haunt us as more and more kids are going to leave.”
The district is hosting a “Tax Talk with the School Board” at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Caln Elementary School to discuss the issues with residents. A letter sent to residents about the meeting outlined that “Board members will lead roundtable discussions following the presentation and welcome the opportunity to hear feedback and suggestions on the current and future financial positioning of the district.”
Anyone planning on attending is encouraged to bring a brown-bag lunch, while drinks and dessert will be provided, and there will be childcare available.
Read the details on the property tax options on the Daily Local News here.