Wednesday, August 05, 2020


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STEB Ratio Decrease Creates Tax Increase for UPSD’s 20-21 Budget
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            A decrease in the State Tax Equalization Board ratio for the upcoming school year will create a 3.48 percent tax increase for property owners in the Upper Perkiomen School District. Board Member Melanie Cunningham made the announcement during the committee reports portion of last week's workshop meeting.

            "There's nothing we can do about it," she said during the Feb. 27 meeting.

            According to an email message received Monday, Cunningham explained that the Commonwealth sets the number – computation based on the current real estate values and how they are different because we are in two counties – for the district. It states that the ratio is supposed to "equalize" the tax burden throughout the district.

           The STEB ratio for the current school year is 0.6238716. The ratio for the 2020-21 school year will be 0.6028881, according to Cunningham, chair of the district's finance committee.

            "When the STEB ratio goes lower, the more the district makes in taxes," she wrote. "That's the simple explanation."

            Taxes in next year's budget could increase anywhere between 3.48 to 6.68 percent. Late last year, the members voted limit a tax increase to the Act 1 Index, which is 3.2 percent.

            "This is the part the school board has to decide how much is appropriate to use in balancing our budget," Cunningham wrote.

            The board could be creating a permanent extra-curricular committee. During the Feb. 27 meeting, Members Peg Pennepacker and Dana Hipszer expressed a willingness to fill two of the three committee spots. Vice President Mike Elliot said he would be willing to join.

            According to Pennepacker, the purpose of the committee is to oversee all school sports and after-school programs at all the district's facilities as well as the participating students. The members reached a consensus to make the committee permanent.

            Nearly two years ago, former Superintendent Alexis McGloin created a subcommittee, to explore adding additional sports or adding ninth grade teams. Former board member Dr. John Farris suggested that discussions should include additional programs that include academics and art as well as athletics. The subcommittee met only two or three times, according to Assistant Superintendent Andria Farina.

            In other news, Cunningham, the pole vaulting pit is expected to arrive in six or seven weeks, and the new baseball scoreboard is expected to be shipped on April 23.





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