• June 21, 2024

    USCSD approves final budget and tax rate

    BudgetThe Upper St. Clair School Board approved the 2024-25 final budget totaling $104,452,426 during its meeting on Monday, June 17, 2024. The final budget includes a 3.25% millage increase of 0.9631 mills – resulting in a final millage rate of 30.5970 mills.

    Early in the budgeting process, the USC School Board approved a resolution limiting any possible 2024-25 tax increase to within the inflationary index determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). The resolution capped any tax increase at 5.3% or 1.5705 mills; the approved spending plan is well below that limit.

    Dr. John Rozzo, superintendent of schools, shared that district administrators and school board members have worked hard to present a fiscally responsible budget. The nearly six-month-long process began in January.

    “This budget preserves what we know works for kids,” Dr. Rozzo said. “There are no reductions in programs nor any reductions in staff.”

    Stagnant funding, inflation, assessment reductions, the loss of pandemic funding have challenged school districts across Allegheny County and Pennsylvania. Upper St. Clair School District has not used pandemic funding nor fund balance to fund recurring costs in the general fund budget.

    “A lot of the work that has happened over the last few years – in particular when times have been more challenging – have positioned the district well,” Dr. Rozzo said. “We have not bankrupted the future of the district to get through the present time, even though some of those times were very challenging. Part of the reason why this tax increase is much less aggressive is because of the due diligence of the administration and the board over the last couple of years.”

    Scott Burchill, director of business and finance, cautioned school board members and administrators about the negative impact of assessment appeals and the need for a county-wide reassessment. During the 2023-24 school year, revenues decreased by more than $1 million, which accounts for nearly half of the approved tax increase.

    “A portion of the tax increase is to make up for the lost revenues from assessment reductions over the last 12 to 18 months,” Mr. Burchill said. “We need a reassessment, and we need it quickly. Hopefully, it gets rectified soon.”

    Throughout the 2024-25 budget process, district leaders 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.

    Upper St. Clair’s budget is primarily funded by local taxpayers – accounting for more than 78% of all district revenue. The commonwealth of Pennsylvania provides 21% and the federal government provides under $509,000 – less than half of one percent of overall revenues.

    The proposed budget supports several capital improvement projects throughout the district, including the ongoing roof replacement at the high school, HVAC systems throughout the district, athletic wing renovations at the high school, district-wide safety and security enhancements, new buses/vans, concrete repairs, interior improvements to the high school, as well as gym equipment.

    The annual tax impact of the increase on a $250,000 home, the average assessed home in Upper St. Clair, is $240.77 or $20.06 per month. (To calculate the impact on a specific property value, multiply the property’s county assessed value by 0.0009631.)

    The 2024-25 final budget is available on the district’s website and at the district’s administration building, 1775 McLaughlin Run Road.