Tuesday, June 26, 2012

School District Tax Increases

With the passage of the East Penn School District budget yesterday, every Lehigh Valley public school district has now passed a tentative or final school district budget, and the results of those budgets are shared below:

Tax Hike
Allentown School District 4.80% 2.60%
Bangor Area School District 2.20%
Bethlehem Area School District 4.80%
Catasauqua School District 0.00%
Easton Area School District 2.20%
East Penn School District 1.30%
Nazareth Area School District 1.90%
Northampton Area School District 1.97%
Northern Lehigh School District 1.50%
Northwestern Lehigh School District 0.00%
Parkland School District 3.67%
Pen Argyl School District 1.67%
Salisbury Township School District 4.06%
Saucon Valley School District 0.00%
Southern Lehigh School District 1.00%
Whitehall - Coplay School District 1.64%
Wilson School District 1.50%

And here's a graph that lays it out:

A few notes about this:

  • First, and this should come as no surprise, the two highest hikes were in predominantly urban districts: Allentown and Bethlehem Area.  
  • Only three districts managed to hold off any property tax hike: Catasauqua, Northwestern Lehigh and Saucon Valley.
  • The average tax hike was 2.01%.
  • Traditionally suburban school districts were hit hard here as well, with Parkland and Salisbury having the highest non-urban rates.

Also, please note that tax hikes don't tell the whole story; many of these districts dipped into their fund balances in order to balance their budgets, and multiple districts laid off positions or cut programs as well.  This was a bad year for just about everyone.


Ms. Rishcoff said...

The Nazareth Area School District's 2012-13 final budget includes a tax increase of 1.80%, not 1.90%.

Anonymous said...

One of the ways the "urban" districts can cut costs is to stop insisting that ESL (English as a Second Language) be mandated for students who already speak English, regardless of what nationality their surnames imply. The casual and common use of Spanish and all other non-English languages that are indeed secondary in this English-speaking nation should be discouraged as a shameless, divisive political tool that is used to corral Spanish voting blocks and perpetuate separation of the diverse elements of society.

Anonymous said...

Before a tax increase, decrease (HAH!) or decision of any kind regarding the use of other peoples' money is made, a general referendum should be offered to the public. Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom once said that the only problem with Socialism was that eventually you run out of other people's money. Some of us, especially those with upside down mortgages, fixed incomes or NO children in the school system actually resent the intrusion of strangers into our threadbare pocketbooks and have no trouble saying so. I have a budget. Why don't you incompetent officials stick to yours instead of sticking it to us? Why not make the budgets of all government salaries and operations inversely proportional to the national debt? You are killing us.