Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Pennsylvania school districts stockpile billions in cash

Pennsylvania school districts stockpile billions in cash:

Pennsylvania school districts stockpile billions in cash





Action News Investigates has learned Pennsylvania school districts are sitting on more than $4 billion in cash.
Some districts are raising taxes even while holding onto millions in cash.
School officials said they need to save money for soaring pension costs and other expenses.
But others wonder why some of this money could not be sent back to taxpayers, or used to improve schools.
The South Fayette school district has a state-of-the art football stadium.
Inside the stadium's press box, the school board met last month to vote on a budget.
The budget included no tax increase -- only the third time since the stadium opened a decade ago that the board has not raised taxes.
That's seven tax hikes in ten years.
At the same time, South Fayette built up a $21 million surplus, amounting to 44 percent of its total expenses.
That's more than twice the amount of reserves that the state auditor general said is necessary.
Action News Investigates tried to ask school officials about this. Both Superintendent Bille Rondinelli and school board president Leonard Fornella refused to answer questions after the board meeting.
Later, South Fayette released a statement citing these reasons for the hefty cash reserve: rapid enrollment growth and increased costs for pensions, health care and special education. The district also said it took $2.3 million from the reserve to avoid a tax hike this year.
That argument does not sit well with Elizabeth Stelle, policy analysis director at the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative think tank.
“A rainy day fund is a good idea, but a lot of taxpayers feel like they're the ones being rained on right now Pennsylvania school districts stockpile billions in cash:
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