RADNOR – Although officials in the Radnor school district do not know the final tax rate in their 2022-2023 budget, they do know that it will be limited to just under 3.5%.
At its last board meeting before the winter break, Radnor’s board of principals approved a resolution limiting any tax increase in next year’s budget to 3.4 percent under Index Act 1. The index limits tax increases for Pennsylvania school districts.
Brian Pawling, Corporate Director / Tax Collector for Radnor, recommended that the board pass the resolution: “What keeps us from raising taxes above 3.4% and that would be our maximum . “
Passing the resolution does not mean the tax increase will be 3.4%, Pawling said. It simply cannot be higher.
“… [T]The Radnor Township School District Board of Directors has determined that it is able to balance its budget without increasing the tax rate for Radnor Township School District Support for the 2022-2023 fiscal year from more than its clue and is ready to commit to doing so through this resolution, âpart of the resolution read.
Unlike municipalities which may release their budgets a few weeks before their approval in November or December, school districts are required to go through a much longer public process by releasing draft budgets in January and not approving them until June.
Passing the resolution means the district will not be required to produce a preliminary budget in January.
The resolution adopted by Radnor is part of Index Act 1 which was enacted by Governor Ed Rendell in the early 2000s.
By accepting the Act 1 resolution, the district chooses to waive any exception requests. The exceptions allow districts to exclude spending on certain items when calculating their budget increases. When a district uses exceptions, they must be approved by the state.
According to Pawling, Radnor would not qualify for any of the exceptions this year. The resolution also means that the district cannot use the final option to raise taxes above the level of the index, a referendum on voters.
Although many school districts complained about having to limit tax increases, it came at a time when some districts were raising taxes by 10% or more each year.
As a general rule, wealthier neighborhoods, such as those on or near the main line, tend to have a lower index, meaning the tax increase must have a lower percentage. Radnor, Lower Merion, Tredyffrin / Easttown and Haverford all have the lowest possible index increase at 3.4 percent.
The onus of paying a higher percentage tax increase tends to fall on people living in poorer school districts such as Reading, York, and Chester / Upland. Because of their higher indices, these school districts may have increases of 5.6, 5.5, and 5.4 percent, respectively.