The Times Herald recently published a "state of the districts" story providing some details on four area Montgomery County school districts – Norristown, Methacton, Colonial and Upper Merion. According to the Herald, though all four budgets vary in size, all four districts are facing similar hurdles.
School District Budgets:
- Norristown – $130,134,620
- Upper Merion – $78,718,680
- Colonial – $95,325,000
- Methacton – $94,333,111
They also share many common factors including property tax increases and increased contributions to the Pennsylvania School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) to make up for cuts in state contributions.
Property Tax Increases:
- Norristown – 2.06%
- Upper Merion – 2.76%
- Colonial – 3.4%
- Methacton – 1.95%
- Norristown – 30.912 mills
- Upper Merion – 17.49 mills
- Colonial – 19.104 mills
- Methacton – 26.83 mills
The PSERS contributions are of particular concern to school district officials.
"These are huge increases that are eating up the ever declining revenue we’re seeing in both tax collections and monies from the state and Washington," Methacton School Board President Joyce Petrauskas told the Herald.
Districts are going to have to make increasingly tough calls in the coming years including approving program cuts and/or tax hikes.
"It is probably going to be a combination of the two," Norristown School District Chief Financial Officer AnneMarie Rohricht told the Herald. "I think the district is going to have some tough decisions to make because of the rising PSERS cost."
Read more about the districts' efforts to deal with the budgets and state legislatures' attempts to alleviate the pressure here.