Pleasant Valley School District Approves 1.4% Increase in Taxes


Pleasant Valley’s board of education unanimously approved a proposed final budget Thursday night calling for a 1.4 percent tax increase in 2019-2020.

The final spending plan will be voted on June 13.

According to a presentation by business manager Susan Famularo, the budget includes about $100 million in revenue and $103.1 million in expenditures, leaving a $3.1 million deficit to be covered by the district’s fund balance.

The 1.4 percent, or 2-mill, property tax increase adds $630,000 to Pleasant Valley’s revenue and will result in a $42 increase to the average district property owner.

That impact, however, will be partially offset for those residents who receive a refund through the state’s homestead or farmstead exclusion.

“The district as a whole is anticipating $4 million in state gambling revenue, which would result in $500 to each qualifying homestead or farmstead owner,” Famularo said. “This is a $15 increase from previous years and that reduction would be reflected on the property tax bill.”

Superintendent David Piperato said the budget takes into account the district’s goals, one of which is to focus on the academic needs of students, but also their emotional and social needs.

Piperato also addressed the district’s staffing choices, particularly its administrators, since he took over the job in 2017. Since that point, he said, the district has reassigned a number of administrators and reallocated their responsibilities, but has only added one new position, the director of curriculum.

“The total amount of money spent on administrators has gone from $1.36 million when I came here to $1.35 million and that is with adding an administrator,” he said.

Only seven of Pleasant Valley’s 28 administrators on the Act 93 contract are making six figures, he added.

The district is still looking to hire a new Pleasant Valley Middle School principal and an athletic director.

As for new budget initiatives in 2019-20, the district is adding a full-day kindergarten program, which will cost just over $888,000; implementing Project Lead The Way with pathways in engineering, computer science and biomedical at a cost of $148,196; adding two math coaches (K-6 and K-12) at $90,506 each with salary and benefits; adding four building substitutes for a total of $330,291 and additional department chairpersons for $26,293.

Factors that will influence future budgets, Piperato said, include building projects, the uncertain status of state and federal funding, payments for charter schools and out-of-district placements, declining enrollment, maintaining effective programming and legal mandates.

Legal costs as a whole were a hot topic of discussion Thursday. Famularo said this year the district has spent $243,000 on that line item, which puts it $106,000 in the red.

“This year appears to be extraordinarily high,” she said. “We do budget an amount in contingency to cover unexpected items.”

Director Donna Yozwiak said she would like to see that area brought under control.

“We need to cautiously look at everything we are doing legally,” she said. “I really want to save some money with our legal fees.”

In terms of state funding, while the district said it doesn’t know yet what to expect this year, state Rep. Jack Rader, who attended Thursday’s meeting, said there is no reason not to expect an increase in education funding.

“Education is very important to us,” he said. “I can’t imagine we’ll go past June 30 with this budget. We’ve done all our homework. Now it’s just negotiations between the governor’s office and ourselves.”

4 Responses

  1. Mrs .M says:

    There is no reason to raise school tax. Enrollment is down. There are 2 schools closed. Kindergarten is all day anyway with half day classes all day. Counselors are always needed and in office. Stop with the chairpersons. I don’t see how changing a curriculum costs money. Why are we paying for charter schools above what our school taxes are. My child is graduating this year, I want a deduction. Out of district placements should be paid by that students home taxes not by everyone else’s. Many of us work without a pension plan. We use financial planners for that. Perhaps your staff should be put in that position instead of us paying for their pensions.

  2. Mrs. L says:

    Enrollment has been decreasing for many years while the amount of teachers and administration has not decreased in the same percentages. Why does each school need a principal and several assistant principals? Why, since Pleasant Valley School District has consolidated 3 (Eldred, Polk and Chestnuthill) elementary schools into 1, have these buildings not been put up for sale. That could bring in some extra income. Why wasn’t Coordinated Health taken up on their proposal to put in the new football field/track in exchange for a contract, leaving only of course the football program to benefit from a new playing surface while those kids that run track and field (as well as we tax payers that utilize the track for a safe walking area) are left with a poor surface that can give way to injuries? Why do our kids not have books that can be taken home for studying instead of having to share them? There are many questions (and reasons) why PV’s enrollment is down and charter schools and cyber schools have increased, both in the lack of materials and inability for some teachers to teach (unfortunately the PSSA and Keystone grades only adversely affect the children, some by not being able to take classes they will need for their future while ending the year with an otherwise “A” average and not the teachers (by placing them on job loss notice) who, in most cases did not teach the subject properly. IF PV is going to get a head, we need to start teaching the subjects and not trying to teach to pass these kid crippling tests.

  3. jim says:

    The school district has 20 varisty sports and plans to spend $800,000 for new turf, the old turf is about 12yrs old. And your focus is on education…come on now.
    I put 10% of my pay in a 401k and some of us at work pay $40-100 for our health insurance and we are not in the $60,000-80,000 range
    Dress codes aren’t followed and cell phones are abused daily dress down days like pajama day how juvenile.
    No wonder our education system is 20 something and falling compared to other countries.

  4. Mrs. B says:

    The enrollment has been depleting the last 5 years. The amount of teachers hasn’t followed the percentage decrease. Yes, the turf is 12 years old as is the track but the maintenance was not done as required. Look at all the grass plugs growing in the drainage holes, blocking airflow from one end to the other. Why is only the turf being done? Is the safety to those that run track as well as the community who walks it not worth replacing that? Why wasn’t Coordinated Health taken up on their offer to replace the turf and track with gaining a 10 year contract? Why don’t classrooms have enough books for student to take them home to study?
    Like Jim said, most of us who pay taxes have to provide our own money towards our retirement and pay actually a lot more than $40-100 for health insurance (unless he was meaning a week). Many of us also have graduated from college too, so that is no excuse.
    If our children are to make it in today’s world, PV needs to step up and teach our children. Prepare them for college by actually teaching and having them do reports. If not, more and more will be leaving the area or joining charter/cyber schools to gain a competent education.

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