The Fox Chapel Area School District Forum held an emergency public meeting last night to discuss proposed legislation known as Property Tax Independence. More than 200 parents, residents, school board members and school district staff turned out to learn how this legislation, if implemented, would impact our school district.
Dr. Gene Freeman, superintendent, discussed why this meeting was an emergency for our school district. Jamie Baxter, director of Legislative Policy and Advocacy, Allegheny Intermediate Unit, gave a slide presentation on the details of this act. Property Tax Independence calls for school property tax to be eliminated except to cover existing district debt; personal income tax to increase from 3.07% to 4.95%; sales and use tax to increase from 6% to 7% and to be expanded to tax additional goods and services, such as groceries, child care, diapers, etc. For school districts, this proposed legislation will result in diminished local control of education; will “lock-in” inequity in education; will freeze school budgets as the financial burden of state mandates grows rapidly; and burden individuals and families with a regressive tax, to name a few key points.
District Forum President Elizabeth Klamut gave a presentation on the impact this legislation could have on Fox Chapel parents and children and what the loss of local control and the realities of referendums would mean to the community.
The meeting concluded with a question and answer session. Attendees were given a letter that they could sign and send to their state senator and representatives. Everyone in attendance was urged to contact their state legislators by using the letter and/or a phone call to voice their opposition to the act.
The next public event will be held Tuesday, February 14 in the Large Group Instruction Room of the High School. Technology in Grades K-12 will be the topic.
Please click on the links below for the meeting’s handouts and the presentation by Baxter.