• May 23, 2023

    Proposed final budget approved

    BudgetThe Upper St. Clair School Board approved the district’s 2023-24 proposed final budget totaling $100,147,255 during its meeting on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. Final budget approval is set for June 19.

    The proposed spending plan is based on a millage rate of 29.6339, which includes a 3.75 percent increase of 1.0711 mills. The annual tax impact of the increase on a $250,000 home, the average assessed home in Upper St. Clair, is $267.78 or $22.31 per month. (To calculate the impact on a specific property value, multiply the property’s county assessed value by 0.0010711.)

    In November, the USC School Board approved a resolution limiting any possible 2023-24 tax increase to within the inflationary index determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Passage of the resolution assured taxpayers that any proposed increase to the real estate tax rate would not exceed 4.7% or 1.3424 mills. The proposed spending plan is nearly a full percentage point below the limit.

    “At 4.7, this is the highest base since the inception of the Act 1 index,” Dr. John Rozzo, superintendent, said. “It is a reflection of the times as costs have increased significantly – not just for school districts, but for everyone.”

    Nearly 80 percent of the district’s revenues is derived from local taxes. The commonwealth of Pennsylvania provides 20 percent and the federal government provides under $500,000 – less than half of one percent of overall revenues. Although state revenue has increased over time, Scott Burchill, director of business and finance, states that those increases have not kept pace with the cost of growing mandates on public schools.

    “Pennsylvania public schools have seen very small increases in state revenue over the past decade,” Mr. Burchill said. “It’s important to note that these annual increases in state revenue do not fund the incremental cost related to mandated programs and services.”

    Throughout the 2023-24 budget process, which began in December 2022, the district’s leadership team has focused on three primary objectives: deliver extraordinary learning experiences for students; balance the needs of the school district while recognizing the fiduciary responsibilities to the community; and remain cognizant of the interdependence of all aspects that directly and indirectly affect students’ school experience.

    District leaders provided an overview of several factors that are impacting the 2023-24 budget. With salaries and benefits totaling nearly 80% of the budget, staffing levels have a significant impact. This year, there are 11 professional staff retirements and the administration is recommending the elimination of five full-time positions, all through attrition. Healthcare is projected to increase by 14%. In addition, capital improvements are needed throughout the district, including repairs to the high school roof, HVAC systems as well as safety and security enhancements.

    The school board will vote on the final budget and taxes on Monday, June 19, 2023. The meeting, which is open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. in the district’s administration building.

    The 2023-24 proposed final budget is available on the district’s website and at the district’s administrative building, 1775 McLaughlin Run Road.