Seneca Valley proposed budget holds line on taxes

May 20, 2020 Cranberry Local News

Seneca Valley School Board’s proposed 2020-21 budget does not increase taxes, despite the district facing a drop in tax revenue.

The board approved the $140 million proposed budget at its May 4 meeting, a 2.7 percent increase from the 2019-20 budget, while expecting revenue to drop 1.6 percent, to $132.1 million.

That $7.9 million gap would be made up by spending from its $27 million fund balance.

Local, state and federal revenue are expected to drop for the 2020-21 school year. While rising real estate values means an increase in collected property tax, that’s more than offset by a projected $2.3 million dip in earned income tax.

The district also expects a $1 million drop in a state transportation subsidy as a result of the shortened 2019-20 school year. Federal funding is projected to be more than 30 percent less than the district budgeted for 2019-20, as well.

Directors had approved a resolution in January indicating they would not raise property tax rates more than 2.6 percent, meaning they were limited to about a 3.325 mill increase, were the board to raise tax rates for 2020-21.

Proposed expenditures generally grew at rates similar to those in years past, with minor decreases in debt repayment and capital expenditures. The board in January approved the refinancing of bonds, leading to reductions in interest rates and payments.

The proposed budget is available for inspection on the Seneca Valley website. Directors expect a final vote on the budget to occur at their June 9 meeting.