Public school districts in Pennsylvania are required to adopt a final budget no later than June 30 for each succeeding fiscal year.
Act 1 of 2006 establishes the process which school districts must follow in adopting their budgets. Act 1, as amended by Act 25 of 2011, establishes the maximum percentage that a school district may increase its real estate tax rate without voter referendum or exceptions that must be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This index is calculated based upon the Pennsylvania statewide average weekly wage and the Federal employment cost index for elementary/secondary schools, which is then adjusted for each district’s market value/personal income aid ratio.
Each fiscal year a school district must choose to either adopt a preliminary general fund budget or adopt a resolution stating that taxes will not be raised above the school district’s adjusted index. A preliminary budget must be adopted no later than 90 days prior to the primary election, and the resolution not to exceed the index must be adopted no later than 110 days prior to the primary election.
The 2023-2024 General Fund Budget
The Board of School Directors of the Cornwall-Lebanon School District, at its regular scheduled Board Meeting on June 19, 2023, approved a Final General Fund Budget of $97.7 million. The final budget includes a 3.9 percent increase in the real estate tax rate over the existing rate for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. The Act 1 Index limit for Cornwall-Lebanon for the 2023-2024 fiscal year is 5.1 percent. The increase in the tax rate amounts to a $112 increase in the real estate tax bill for the median homeowner having an assessed property value of $171,500. The real estate tax rate established as a part of this budget is 17.3605.
Property tax relief in the amount of $151.71 will be provided to approved homestead and farmstead property owners on their July 1, 2023 property tax bills. This relief, as a part of the Pennsylvania Taxpayer Relief Act (Act 1 of 2006), will appear directly on individual tax bills as a reduction in the assessed value of each approved homestead and farmstead property.
Total expenditures are projected to be $97.7 million in the 2023-2024 final budget. The increase in expenditures represents a $6.4 million or 7.0% increase from the 2022-2023 budget. Major cost drivers include a 25% increase for transportation ($884,000), a 13% increase in special education ($827,000), a 23% increase for technology ($300,000), and a 100% increase for curriculum ($260,000).
Total revenues in the 2023-2024 final budget are projected to increase by $4.3 million or 4.7% from the 2022-2023 budget. The proposed tax increase will generate an additional $2.2 million, increasing the total revenue 7% from the 2022-2023 budget.
The District anticipates using Assigned Fund Balance of $166,000 to balance the 2023-2024 budget, using previously assigned fund balance for retirement cost leveling.
View the most recent Annual Financial Report (AFR) for 2021-2022 on PDE form 2057.