HARRISBURG – Pushing to ensure hard-working taxpayers across the Commonwealth aren’t being taken advantage of, Reps. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery) and Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) held a press conference in Harrisburg calling out school districts with hefty reserve funds.
“The general rule of thumb is that a school district’s reserve account should range between 5 percent to 7 percent of its operating budget,” said Vereb. “The fact that many school districts in Pennsylvania are sitting on additional millions in cash that exceeds that rule of thumb, all while threatening to increase property taxes and cut school programs, is simply ludicrous.”
As of June 30 last year, school districts statewide were sitting on more than $3.2 billion, of which at least $2 billion is above what was needed to pay expenses for the 2010-11 fiscal year.
Vereb and Scavello hinted at the possibility of introducing legislation in the near future to put a cap on the amount of money schools across the state can hoard in their reserve funds.
“These school districts with large reserve funds cannot, and should not, be allowed to raise taxes when they’re sitting on these large reserve funds,” said Scavello. “These school districts should not be able to bank huge surpluses when their taxpayers are having to borrow money to pay for high property taxes, or even losing their homes.”
Of the 500 school districts across the state, the Pittsburgh School District leads the way with $148 million in reserve funds and also leads the way in gains during the last 15 years, when the district has stockpiled more than $101 million in cash.