I get up at 5:10 am every day to go to work. I brew a pot of coffee and read the local paper for 15 minutes before I head out the door by 6:30. I usually find one or two things to post on this blog. This morning I pour myself a cup of joe and open the paper to this goddamn story. Nothing like a story of government drone incompetence and stupidity to get my day going. My school district is going to jack my real estate taxes up by 3.8% next year. That is funny because the freaking law says they can’t raise them more than 1.7%. They are capped at that level. But wait. They can raise them by anything they want if they get an exception.
IF YOU CAN GET AN EXCEPTION TO A CAP, THEN IT ISN’T A FUCKING CAP!!!!!
This is the mindset of government drones. The article doesn’t even mention the real reason for the massive budegt deficit. It is the gold plated government union contracts. The idiots in Harrisburg committed to ridiculous levels of pension benefits to all state and local union government workers back in 2000. The unfunded liabilities have been growing ever since. Fast Eddie Rendell pretended for eight years these liabilites did not exist. The combination of terrible stock market returns and no cash contributions into the pension plan have left it terribly underfunded. Now the chickens have come home to roost. The idiotic school boards and government drones have pretended they didn’t have a problem. Their contributions into the pension plan will go up by 100% between now and 2016.
These drones don’t have the balls to do what must be done. The union teacher contracts must be torn up. Every government employee in the State of Pennsylvania must have their defined benefit pension plan converted to defined contribution plan like the taxpayers have at their jobs. We’ve got government drones at the Federal, State, and local level raising taxes on people who don’t have jobs and are experiencing inflation from Bernanke’s money printing policies. We are in a recession and the solution from a government drone is to raise taxes on people who have no money.
You might realize I’m boiling mad.
NPSD – Tax increase possible for 2013-14 budget
By JENNIFER LAWSON
Wednesday, January 9,2013
LANSDALE — With a projected budget shortfall of $5 million to $10 million, North Penn School District officials said the 2013-14 school year will be one of the toughest they’ve faced.
The numbers are preliminary, but to help close the gap, the district may have to seek a property tax increase of up to 3.8 percent, according to Robert Schoch, director of business administration.
Under Act 1, a state law that sets maximum tax-raising thresholds, 1.7 percent is the cap for a tax increase without applying for an exception.
“The board has never used an exception in the past,” Schoch said, adding that it might be necessary now. “We have some tough decisions ahead.”
This year is different because the $20 million in budget balancing initiatives that the district implemented over the past three years were one-time options, and others were multi-year projects with dwindling returns, according to a presentation Schoch made to the school board Tuesday night.
Charter schools are also a factor. There are three charter school applications currently under consideration by the school board which, if approved, could have a $7 million impact on the school district budget.
To balance the budget, the district needs to bring in more revenue, control costs and reduce spending, Schoch said.
One way the district could make a dent in the shortfall is by attempting to reverse property tax assessment appeals, which could bring in $750,000 according to Schoch, and applying for grants could increase revenues.
In the cost control column, the district is planning to continue living with vacant positions — there are 108 positions that are unfilled, representing a savings of $5.8 million. Most of the vacancies are bus assistants and monitors (20 percent); administrative positions (17 percent); custodians, facilities and transportation workers (10 percent each) and secondary-level teaching positions (8.2 percent).
Another area in which the district is trying to control costs is in health care. Over the next few years the district hopes to save $500,000 by creating a culture of healthy living and fitness. It’s also looking at reducing instructional allocations, and increasing salaries by 1.7 percent every 18 months instead of every 12 months.
Spending reduction measures include continued savings on energy, which could be about $2 million, and reducing copying and printing costs.
Future initiatives to cut spending may be revising collective bargaining agreements; making changes to contracts; and increasing efficiency in transportation — according to Schoch, six financial comparisons showed North Penn spends 30 percent more than peer districts on transportation.
Cutbacks on employee compensation could also be on the table, according to Schoch’s report. This could result in no additional pay for additional credits or degrees and a restriction or reduction in tuition reimbursement; same pay for an increase in work hours; a restriction in benefits eligibility; reduced benefits for new employees; increase in employee contribution and incentives or penalties for healthy lifestyles.
“We have a very, very challenging budget situation,” Superintendent Dr. Curtis Dietrich said.
Despite these measures, resources will remain focused on instruction, Schoch said, pointing out that student achievement has remained strong through the recession.
North Penn has been named as a top high school in the country by Newsweek magazine and The Washington Post, test scores continue to rise, SAT scores are above national levels and the district produced 10 National Merit Finalists.
The preliminary budget is due Feb. 12, and over subsequent months the district will have a more solid picture of expenditures and revenues. The final budget is set to be adopted in June.