SV budget has tax hike
State system affects funding
Eagle Staff Writer
Written by:
June 13, 2017

JACKSON TWP — Seneca Valley School District residents will see higher property taxes next school year.

The school board Monday night unanimously approved the 2017-18 budget of $131 million that includes a 3-mill increase, or 2.44 percent tax increase.

The new tax rate is set at 126 mills. The gross value of a mill is $597,000.

The district’s budget for the 2016-17 school year included a 3.1 mill tax increase that put property tax rates at 123 mills.

The proposed tax increase is under the Act 1 index of 2.5 percent set forth for the district by the state Department of Education. This is the first time in several years the budget has included a tax increase below the index, school board President Jim Nickel noted at the last school board meeting.

After hearing some concerns last week from a resident about the consistently increasing property taxes, Eric DiTullio, school board vice president, wanted residents to know what kind of effect the state’s public School Employees’ Retirement System has on the school district’s budget.

“It might surprise people to know that over the last 10 years that PSERS has been underfunded to the tune of $28 million for this district,” DiTullio said. “So we’ve had to account for that underfunding by taking it to the taxpayers.”

DiTullio said he was concerned residents did not understand the budget, although it is discussed regularly at the school board’s meetings.

“We need to do a better job at getting the message out,” DiTullio said. “I thought we were doing a better job talking to people. I just want to find a better way to do it.”

The budget next year includes committing $2 million from the fund balance to offset the increasing PSERS costs and to fund capital projects.