Gov. Corbett Signs Bill To Limit School Board Power

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When school boards raise taxes to give teachers a pay raise or modernize or build new schools, taxpayers often feel they can do little more than protest.

But last Thursday night, besides his budget, Gov. Corbett signed another bill that will limit the power of local school boards to raise property taxes without a public referendum.

“In most cases, they will not be able to raise enough revenue to run the way that they have in the past,” says Patrick Sable.

Sable has served as chief financial officer for three school districts, and he says school boards will now need voter approval for most tax increases above the indexed inflation rate.

The only exceptions are tax increases for special education, existing debt payments and pensions.

“I think there will be referendum, and I think the ability to pass referendum will be just as difficult as it has been in the past.”

Only one of 14 referendums to raise taxes has been approved since 2006.

That means school boards will turn to Harrisburg for state funding just when legislators cut funding.

At one time, the state supplied nearly 50 percent of school district funding, but no more.

“We’re down to the range of between 35 and 40 percent of funding, which is on the lower end of what most states are funding public education at,” notes Sable.

That has pushed some school boards like Steel Valley to raise taxes just as the new law ties the hands of school directors even more while giving taxpayers the final say.

There’s no doubt that this new law shifts power from school boards to local taxpayers. But with Harrisburg cutting state support for education, that means that local taxpayers will have to decide how much more in taxes they want to pay for a quality education for their children.

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One Comment

  1. swin says:

    This is what you want – power as close to the people as possible. How about going even further? How about no state funding for education at all? Let all funds be raised locally and let parents have even more control over their schools. More government has just made education more expensive.

  2. swin says:

    When more levels of government are involved, you get more mandates, more bills to pay, more rules to follow, more bureaucracy, and most important – less freedom. Now let’s see if our Republican governor has the political courage to pull the plug on Republican George W’s ‘No Child Left Behind.’ You talk about a waste of money. If we in Pennsylvania don’t follow this law, I would just dare the politicians in Washington, D.C. to cut federal funding to one of the largest states in the country with an election coming up. And you better believe that as soon as one large state has the nerve to call the federal government’s bluff on this law, the floodgates would open and people around the country would demand to regain control of their schools.

    And why we’re at it – time to end the U. S. Department of Education – you never ever want your central government in charge of education your kids. Communist Russia tried it and I imagine Hitler would have loved to have that kind of control of the nation’s youth.

    1. lj says:

      it’s “while” we’re at it

    2. lj says:

      i guess you were educated by our government controlled education

      1. swin says:

        I apologize to you for not proof-reading. I’ll strive to do better next time. My first eight years of education were in the Catholic school system – I’m been struggling to overcome the disadvantages ever since.

  3. FedUp says:

    This is great news for the taxpayers! Now if they would just pass legislation making it illegal for teachers to go out on strike (like a great number of other states have) it would go a long way towards returning control to the taxpayer! While I don’t agree with all of Corbett’s decisions, I do agree with what he has done/is doing with our education system. For entirely too long school districts across Pennsylvania have operated under a ‘tax and spend’ mentality, maybe this will serve as a wake-up call to them and they’ll realize business as usual doesn’t fly anymore!

    1. swin says:

      While I agree that free market forces must come into play with our education system, I wish to make 4 points.
      1. Take away any worker’s right to strike and you have already distorted the free market system – think Carnegie and Frick and the sweatshops and near slavery like conditions that existed before workers had the right to strike.
      2. Why is it that the answer to any problem is to take away the rights of certain groups of people? As you propose, take away from teachers the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly.
      3. Why is it that workers, when they become the employers through their governmental institutions, in this case school districts, immediately adopt the very same tactics that they condemned their employers for?
      4. Picking on a group and blaming them for everything when times are tough is a very common tactic. In fact, we as a nation fought a war against it. The war was World War II, the people blamed were the Jews, and the person using the tactic was Adolph Hitler.

      1. FedUp says:

        Your points# 1 & 2 are the same. They both deal with the rights of teachers to strike. Point# 4 makes an incorrect assumption as I have ALWAYS felt this way about the school districts tax and spend mentality and teachers striking, not just now that we are in a tough economy. Requiring a referendum vote to raise property taxes above the rate of inflation is a start.

      2. The One says:

        Hey SWIN – Most americans work without a union and are doing just fine. I personally don’t know anyone who works in a sweatshop…

        –as for— “think Carnegie and Frick and the sweatshops and near slavery like conditions that existed before workers had the right to strike.”

        You should think CHINESE making all our steel because Union demands were stupidly out of control. That is the facts and now it is gone forever…. soon to be followed by unionized automotive workers…

  4. GOP says:

    This govoner might be smarter than Marty /Griffin after all. It’s about time the state said No new taxes and ment it!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I want a federal referendum on military spending. I do not like wars so why should I pay for them. I am a vet by the way. I am not old so there should be a referendum on spending for our elderly. I am not sick so there should be referendums for medical research funding. I do not drive more than a mile from my house so there should be a referendum on highway funding. People get real. We live in a country that has diverse needs and wants. We ELECT officials who make decisions as we have a representative form of government. What the governor has done is to remove local control of schools by the school boards. Your rights to your property – through drilling and your right to be able to adequately control and fund your schools are being eroded. Corbett is not for the little man at all and do not be fooled.

  6. paeducator says:

    I want a federal referendum on military spending. I do not like wars so why should I pay for them. I am a vet by the way. I am not old so there should be a referendum on spending for our elderly. I am not sick so there should be referendums for medical research funding. I do not drive more than a mile from my house so there should be a referendum on highway funding. People get real. We live in a country that has diverse needs and wants. We ELECT officials who make decisions as we have a representative form of government. What the governor has done is to remove local control of schools by the school boards. Your rights to your property – through drilling and your right to be able to adequately control and fund your schools are being eroded. Corbett is not for the little man at all and do not be fooled.

  7. Critter says:

    Corbett for President

  8. Critter says:

    Ever hear of the NAAColoedP? Are they bigots?

    1. paeducator says:

      I think that paeducator is a independent who looks at all sides of a situation.

    2. paeducator says:

      Never heard of Coloed. Your initial statement suggested that a group of individuals were all looking for handouts. That is bigoted.

  9. Baker6 says:

    Me thinks paeducator is ur typical liberal democrat

    1. paeducator says:

      Methinks paeducator is a independent who looks at all sides of a situation.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Think about this, the new budget has a 4% increase in salaries for legislators while there were reductions in the budget for education and services to the elderly. Shared sacrifice should be shared by all, not just those who do not sit in government.

  11. hwright says:

    hey Corbett lets just pass legislation for you to collect all of our paychecks!!! I am game for that! I am sure it will make you happier!

  12. Warlock Jones says:

    Please note that PAEDUCATOR and ANONYMOUS are the same person trying to make it look like there is more support for their union than there actually is… typically Union B.S.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Really? Think so? Just what union bs are you referring to? I can’t wait to see all of those who support this policy in unemployment lines.

      1. Warlock Jones says:

        Yes I do… you posted the exact same comment twice with your two different names… see above “I want a federal referendum on military spending….” dumb a$$

      2. Anonymous says:

        Warlock you are an ignorant imbecile who results to swearing instead of facts. So what if the post was posted twice. Why not pay attention to what you “leaders” are doing in Harrisburg. Go play by yourself on your computer.

    2. Hwright says:

      Really now why do you think that apparently your BLIND….. Maybe its the other way around.. If you dont like Unions have fun working 80 – 90 hours a week w/ 1 or 2 of vacation days. heck your 401k will look great! Until the RICH crash the market!!! hahahahahahahahahahahhahahahah

      1. Zoeyzotron says:

        88% of the US works with out a union as does just fine. That number has climbed every year since the early 80’s and will continue to climb. The unions can blame themselves soley for that.

        There are labor laws now, OSHA, requirements for retirement contributions and most importantly if you work 80 hours a week with 2 days of vacation a year… you can get a new job (we live in America, not Laos…

      2. hwright says:

        If you love the industry heres the job for you Zoeyzotron!!! Great Labor laws in effect!!!!!!
        What kind of family life can you have working like that?????
        Thats a sign of NO UNION……

        Aerotek Energy Services is currently seeking dedicated and reliable candidates to work for a growing Oil & Gas Water Transfer company located in Eighty Four, PA. This company is heavily involved in the hydraulic fracturing (Fracing) process in Oil and Gas. Candidates should be familiar with working outdoors, have a strong labor employment history, and be willing to work up to 80 hours a week.

        Job Responsibilities:
        -Working with pumps, piping, water tanks, hoses, and other related equipment
        -Working in all weather conditions
        -Working up to 80 hours a week
        -All manual labor

        Qualifications:
        -Strong labor work history (Construction, general labor, auto mechanics, Oil and Gas, etc)
        -Willingness to work outdoors 100% of the time
        -Willing to work on a rotating schedule (10-14hr shifts)
        -Willingness to work 7 days a week if required
        -Willingness to commute to remote locations for on site work.

  13. Zoeyzotron says:

    Finally, our state cuts spending!!

    Hey Democrats, you can’t keep spending what you do not have… It eventually catches up to you. Simple Economics.

    1. VOTEDEMOCRAT says:

      Tell That to MR. Bush when he dumped social security into the middle east.
      Zoeyzotron You are Poltically and Economically INCORRECT……. Any that supports Job LOSS is LOST……..

      1. Zoeyzotron says:

        Quite crying about Bush (and yes, he spent too much as well)…. that was three years ago.

        should I cry about Clinton giving loans to people for houses that he new could never pay them back….

        Sometimes jobs get cut because they are no longer needed…. I think we can all agree that the public sector has been overemployed for about 20 years now.

        Keep ignoring the facts if you want.

      2. Anonymous says:

        Clinton did not give out loans to people who could not afford them. That happened under Bush and you can look up his 2002 state of the union address when he expressed his desire to have more home ownership. Under Clinton, the interest rates were still between 8%-12%. I know because I was house hunting at that point. People seem to forget that after 911 the gov did not push things like war bonds or savings accounts. Just the opposite. The mortgage interest rates were lowered and that caused real estate to artificially shoot up which would precipitate the mortgage meltdown.

        By the way, if you really supported Bush you would remember:

        “There’s more to do. We need to prepare our children to read and succeed in school with improved Head Start and early childhood development programs. ”
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/onpolitics/transcripts/sou012902.htm

        That was in the same state of the union address. Gee even Bush thought that early childhood education was important. Not Corbett. The wack jobs have taken over the republican party.

      3. Zoeyzotron says:

        Anonymous – You sure about that…. Sorry you’re incorrect. Democrat Fiscal irresponsibility even dates back to your dear old Clinton…See the attached article from the (liberal) NY Times, sept 1999….

        Personally, I love the last sentence of the article.

        September 30, 1999
        Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending
        By STEVEN A. HOLMES
        In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.
        The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets — including the New York metropolitan region — will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.
        Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.
        In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates — anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.
        ”Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990’s by reducing down payment requirements,” said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae’s chairman and chief executive officer. ”Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime mar ket.”
        Demographic information on these borrowers is sketchy. But at least one study indicates that 18 percent of the loans in the subprime market went to black borrowers, compared to 5 per cent of loans in the conventional loan market.
        In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.
        ”From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,” said Peter Wallison a reside nt fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ”If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.”
        Under Fannie Mae’s pilot program, consumers who qualify can secure a mortgage with an interest rate one percentage point above that of a conventional, 30-year fixed rate mortgage of less than $240,000 — a rate that currently averages about 7.76 per cent. If the borrower makes his or her monthly payments on time for two years, the one percentage point premium is dropped.
        Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, does not lend money directly to consumers. Instead, it purchases loans that banks make on what is called the secondary market. By expanding the type of loans that it will buy, Fannie Mae is hoping to spur banks to make more loans to people with less-than-stellar credit ratings.

      4. Anonymous says:

        You know that there was also a mortgage and farm problems under Bush I and Reagan or do you forget that as well? What about your retort for headstart and education programs that were touted by your party only to be thrown under the curb. Republicans are not very wise and change with the pr of their party.

      5. Zoeyzotron says:

        Why do you keep refering to Bush? I think he spent to much money too. Bush also never privatized Social Secutiry like he said he would (which needs to be done) so I lost interest in him for that. The last president I truely supported was Regan.

        As for schools, I think the entire system needs overhauled. Currently, there is zero fiscal responsibility… Payroll is far to high, infrastructure being built without proper funding… it a complete joke.

    2. hwright says:

      Hahahahahah Cuts soending to give themselves a big FAT raise…. Zoeyzotron take your blindfold off PLEASE

  14. CORBETT FOR PRESIDENT says:

    Boy I am glad to see that everyone is in favor of cutting programs for the elderly, sick, poor, and students. It is about time that all of these freeloaders get out of our pockets. The drilling companies will be able to take what they can get and they will have lots of cheap pa labor. In addition, pa parents will not have to worry about sending kids to college since they will not be able to either afford it or be academically qualified. I like leadership like this. Heck the good governor and the representatives also gave themselves a well earned 4% pay increase with no adjustments for their healthcare or retirement. We all know how hard it is to make rules that take money off of some to give to themselves.

    1. The One says:

      No problem, give all the funding back. Just tell us where we should take it from then?
      Maybe we should tax homeowners more or maybe we should add another drink tax, or maybe we should add more sales tax (when is that extra % going away in Allegheny county??) or maybe a state gasoline tax? Or maybe another parking tax or maybe another rental car tax? Oh wait… all that has already been done.

      Hey Democrats – this is what happens when the ENDLESS MONEY runs out. The longer we wait the worse the cuts will have to be. That is a certainty.

    2. Anonymous says:

      So the 4% increase to their pay was fair? It makes sense to give yourself a pay raise while asking others to take a cut.

      1. Zoeyzotron says:

        Anonymous – I actually agree with you on something. The state legislature is far to big, they should not get a 4% increase and there should be a reduction in staff. It would be a drop in the bucket, however it would atleast be symbolic and that is important. Mr One however is right, the well is dry, its time to cut.

        NO MORE TAXES!

  15. Robert says:

    Its funny to me that now when the recession is fiinally hitting government workers it becomes a “big deal”. You have been insulated from reality for far to long.

    Welcome to the party…

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