Metcalfe Calls on Governor to Reject Seneca Valley’s Latest Maneuver to Increase Taxes without Voter Approval
HARRISBURG—The following excerpts are taken from a recent letter sent by State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) to Governor Tom Corbett regarding Seneca Valley School District’s latest attempt to increase school property taxes for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, without voter referendum.

“I strongly encourage your administration to carefully scrutinize the Act 1 waiver application from the Seneca Valley School District, to ensure the budget presented is in full compliance with state law and that funding is not being shifted to indicate a shortage in areas that qualify as an exception.

“During the previous fiscal year, the Seneca Valley School District applied and was approved for a waiver to increase millage 4.0963 over the adjusted index of 1.6 percent. The newest scheme by the Seneca Valley School District school board includes applying for an exception to raise taxes from the adjusted inflation rate of 2 percent to 2.11 percent for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

“During these tough economic times, school board members, school administrators and educators need to work together to find alternatives to resolve budget issues rather than increasing the burden on taxpayers. The local teachers’ union already ignored the best interest of taxpayers in the Seneca Valley School District by refusing to accept a pay freeze to help offset the multimillion dollar budget deficit.

“Instead of making the appropriate cuts to account for the additional funding needed, the school board opted to apply for an Act 1 waiver because it is a near guaranteed tax increase without voter approval.

The numbers are obvious. During the 2011-2012 fiscal year, 228 school districts applied for Act 1 waivers. All were granted.

“The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) has developed a “how to” guide for school districts to write their budgets in a manner to circumvent the voter referendum process and to successfully achieve a waiver to increase taxes. The only solution to protect taxpayers is to eliminate all exceptions included in Act 1, thus allowing for true voter referendum on all tax increases above the index.

“Ending teacher strikes and allowing for the furlough of teachers for economic reasons would also greatly enhance the budget climate for many school districts across the Commonwealth, including in my home district of Seneca Valley.

“Again, I respectfully request, if possible under law, that your administration reject any application by Seneca Valley to raise taxes above the index without voter approval.”

To view the complete letter, click here.

State Representative Daryl Metcalfe
12th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Ty McCauslin
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