Pa. considers change to law on school spending

    A bill to change a Pennsylvania law that requires school districts to keep tax increases below the inflation index is headed for a vote in Harrisburg.

    The law, passed in 2006, allows for 10 exceptions, including pension payments and special education costs. The bill amending the law would end the exceptions, thus requiring voter approval for any proposed property tax hike.

    Jay Himes of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials opposes the legislation.

    “Eliminating and repealing outright all the exceptions isn’t warranted,” he said. “We don’t think it’s necessary, we don’t believe they’ve been abused, they have been utilized on an exceptional basis.”

    “We think it creates a short-term and long-term financial chaos for school districts,” said Himes, adding that the exceptions are necessary for schools to operate properly.

    The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Seth Grove, a Republican from York County, disagrees. He said getting rid of exemptions would force school districts to talk with taxpayers.

    The House vote on the bill is scheduled for June 7.

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