Schemel, superintendents issue statement on school taxes

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Rep. Paul Schemel (R-Franklin), along with Dr. Sherian Diller, Waynesboro Area School District superintendent, and Dr. Greg Hoover, Greencastle-Antrim School District superintendent, this week issued the following statement regarding school tax increases.

“Local school districts are funded through a combination of local taxes and state funding. The 2015-16 state budget once again included no new or higher state taxes. As a result, our local school districts received only modest increases in state funding. At the same time, each district’s contractual obligations and variable costs, such as utilities, have gone up.

“Based on analysis by the House Appropriations Committee of the ‘new’ formula for funding Pennsylvania’s public schools developed by the Basic Education Funding Commission, locally raised school taxes give Franklin County taxpayers more ‘bang for their buck.’

“For every dollar paid by Waynesboro taxpayers in state taxes for education, the Waynesboro Area School District gets back only 72 cents. In Greencastle, the difference is even greater at only 68 cents back for every dollar a Greencastle taxpayer sends to Harrisburg in state taxes.

“In contrast, for every dollar that our school districts raise in local taxes, the local district keeps one dollar. State taxes net a 68-72 percent return, whereas local taxes net a 100 percent return.

“At the end of May, we held a meeting in Harrisburg with the chairman of the House Education Committee, Rep. Stan Saylor of York County. In that high-level meeting we explored some potential avenues to ‘fix’ the funding inequity. We are now working on those avenues and developing a strategy, but this will be a long game.”