2015-2016 General Fund Budget Revenue

2015-2016  Final General Fund Budget
In July 2006, the Governor of Pennsylvania signed into law Act 1 of 2006, the Taxpayer Relief Act. The law imposes a limitation by which school board directors are not permitted to raise the real estate tax rate beyond a predetermined index or percentage each year. The law does provide for some exceptions to exceed this limitation. Examples of these include special education costs, retirement rate costs, and certain construction costs. Increases in tax rates beyond those permissible under the Act would require referendum approval by the voters of the Pine-Richland School District (District) before budget adoption could occur.

For 2015-2016, the Pine-Richland School District received an adjusted index of 2.2%. In addition, referendum exceptions were calculated and submitted to the State for approval. The District was approved for $725,548 in referendum exceptions related to special education and retirement costs. The final general fund budget includes $76,745,362 in total expenditures and $75,323,687 in total revenues. The difference between the two figures represents an estimated draw of $1,421,675 from assigned fund balance for capital improvements. The budget represents a flat millage rate from the current year.

The budget includes a number of assumptions and estimates. Many property assessment appeals have been filed with Allegheny County and continue to be unresolved. Resolution of these appeals continually changes the total assessed value for our community which is the school district’s real estate tax base. The District receives updated figures periodically from Allegheny County and the District’s solicitor’s office for pending appeals. These figures are continuously monitored throughout each year.

Other Local Revenue

>Beginning in the 2011-2012 school year, the Pine-Richland School Board approved an activity fee for each participating student in grades seven through 12. This $100 fee allows each student to participate in an unlimited number of sports and student activities throughout the school year. If a student chooses not to participate, the fee will not be assessed. The revenue generated from the student activity fee offsets a portion of costs associated with supplemental payments to administer after school activities, athletic programs and clubs.

State Funding

>The Taxpayer Relief Act also provides for the use of State gaming revenue to lower property taxes for homeowners in the District with an approved homestead application on file with Allegheny County. The State Property Tax Reduction allocation for the Pine-Richland community is $1.2 million. Under this provision of the law, approved properties will receive a homestead exclusion which will lower the taxable assessed valuation for school district real estate taxes. In 2015-2016, this will provide $189.87 in tax relief to each approved homestead in the District.

> Subsidies – All projections for State subsidies are based on estimates. These amounts for Pine-Richland could change based on the final Governor’s budget allocations for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

o Preliminary estimates for basic education instructional subsidy show an increase for the District of $29,985 or 0.63%.

o Special education subsidy for 2015-2016 is projected to be $1,755,321 which is an increase of $258,119 over the current year budget. This includes an estimate for contingency fund allocations which are applied for on an annual basis. The state contingency fund exists to provide additional funding for the implementation of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for students with significant disabilities and who requires a highly specialized program or related services.

o Transportation revenue is expected to be level-funded by the State. Pine-Richland is anticipating an increase of $115,674 based on estimated subsidy calculations for next fiscal year.

o School district construction projects are typically reimbursed by the State based on a series of calculations. Each individual project has a separate reimbursement percentage determined at the time construction takes place. As the school district pays principal and interest payments on the bond issues used to finance each project, documentation is completed to receive a proportional amount of reimbursement from the State. For 2015-2016, estimates show a slight decrease in reimbursement from the current year by $30,141.

o State funding is provided to the District to share in the cost of employer share of social security and retirement for personnel. For 2015-2016, this represents approximately $4.9 million of the District’s total budgeted revenue.

o Pennsylvania Department of Education no longer provides reimbursements to school districts for a portion of cyber/charter school enrollments, dual enrollment or for home-bound instruction.