Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Montco school districts struggle to stay afloat

Montgomery County has some of the state's best schools -- and some of the highest tax rates to match

Montco school districts struggle to stay afloat

After a few months of number-crunching and attending dire school-budget meetings, we present for you, dear readers, an audit of our suburban school districts.

To summarize, school taxes are rising higher than inflation, but districts are still struggling to make ends meet. They're making piecemeal cuts to balance their budgets, knowing full well that they'll face the same crisis next year, and the year after, and so on. 

A few highlights:

School taxes in Bucks, Delaware, Chester and Montgomery counties increased more than 40 percent in the last decade, in some cases double and triple the rate of inflation.

On average, the increases have added about $1,200 to homeowners' tax bills. 

Montgomery County is home to 8 of the 15 highest-paying school districts in Pennsylvania.

Of the five districts with the highest 10-year increases in tax bills, 4 are in Montco -- 1) Upper Dublin, 79%;  2) Lower Merion, 68%;  4) Cheltenham, 57%;  and 5) Lower Moreland, 55%. 

For more detailed district-by-district information, you can check out our interactive map.

For Montgomery County, we focused on Upper Dublin, where the schools are top-notch but taxes have risen 79 percent over the last decade.  There will be more stories to come on Upper Dublin and other districts, and I would love to hear from you.

If you have tips, comments, or just want to air out your feelings on schools and taxes, email me at jparks@philly.com.

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Jessica Parks and Carolyn Davis
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