G-A SD – The Check’s not in the Mail

7 June 2024 – A discussion that started recently on the NEWS TALK 1037FM morning segment, “The Big Talk” surrounding the possibility of PA school districts giving tax increases back …came up in the Greencastle-Antrim School Board meeting last night.

Initially brought up by Attorney Clint Barkdoll, he postulated that if the amounts coming from the State budget to the schools end up exceeding what the school districts predict by substantial amounts in the millions, that the district should re-open its budget and lower property taxes. He said he has followed the amounts year after year and that there were many times when school districts in the area did experience these kinds of amounts.

This was brought up by school board members and the CFO of the GASD last evening when the CFO, Carolyn Royer was discussing numbers in this year’s budget. The property taxes are going up 2% this year and a question was posed to Royer about the concept of possibly returning taxes if more money comes from the state.

Royer stated she would never recommend opening the budget back up for purposes of lower taxes or otherwise. She indicated that any excess funding would be put into the capital funds budget for paying for wanted and needed capital improvements. She and board members discussed unexpected issues that could come up and that having this fund is important. She also made argument the increases are offset, at least for some taxpayers much by the Homestead/Farmstead Exclusion rebate, money that it could be argued is also a loss to taxpayers as regardless of its source, state money is fungible, and all ultimately comes from taxpayers. Barkdoll pointed out that those rebates are negligible for many property taxpayers.

NEWS TALK 1037FM asked PA Representative Jesse Topper, minority chair of the Education Committee engaged in debate about the current PA budget due by June 30th, about these comments by the GASD CFO. He revealed, ironically, that arguments being made by Democrats for giving the historically large amount of education funding Governor Shapiro is asking for this year based on analysis of the Commonwealth Court ruled unconstitutionality of the state education funding formula, is that the school boards will lower property taxes after receiving the funding. Topper agrees with Royer, they never will. To playback Rep Topper’s interview – click here.