Why are your property taxes going up? You can blame school pensions.

Pennsylvania legislators about a decade ago passed a law to protect homeowners by limiting property tax hikes to the rate of inflation. Has the law, known as Act 1, worked?

Not for some homeowners. Exceptions were built into the law so school districts could raise property taxes as much as they needed only to cover certain rising costs, like pensions.

As a result, school districts have increased property taxes $465 million above the rate of inflation in the past decade and requested raising property taxes much higher.

CLICK HERE to use our searchable table to find out if your school district requested property tax increases and how many times.

What has been driving tax increases? Pensions. A 2010 pension reform law increased how much school districts and the state paid into the underfunded school pension system. That helped the pension fund, but increased the burden on schools. The result?

The state’s contribution to school pensions doubled from roughly $500 million to $1 billion from 2010 to 2012. It doubled again to $2 billion by 2014. And doubled again to $4 billion this year. Over the next two years, pension costs are expected to slow and only increase about 15 percent.

In general, wealthier school districts have dealt with mounting costs through property tax hikes while poorer districts have not raised rates as often, according to a PublicSource analysis of financial data from the Department of Education.

Poorer school districts that stand to garner less money through property tax increases may have instead eliminated programs, reduced staff, or balanced their budget in some other way.

Ron Cowell, president of the Education Policy and Leadership Center in Harrisburg, said art and foreign language education are often on the chopping block in some school districts. Other school districts have increased class sizes or cut support services such as nursing and counseling.

"This is not just about money,” he said. “It's about impact on students."

Pensions are becoming a greater burden on schools

School pensions are funded by employees, investment income and by state government. The state splits its payments with local school districts. See how much more the state and schools have paid in recent years:

School employees have contributed roughly the same amount to their pensions each year for the past decade...

...while investment income has varied with the ups and downs of the stock market...

...but, mandated contributions by school districts and the state have skyrocketed.

 

Who is using Act 1?

In the past 10 years, most school districts in Pennsylvania — 384 out of 500 — requested to raise property taxes above inflation at least once.

In total, the Pennsylvania Department of Education approved $1.6 billion worth of these requests, known as Act 1 exceptions, over the past decade.

Districts were approved for at least $540 million in property tax increases to fund pensions and $510 million for special education costs.

School districts don’t always end up raising taxes because they find another way to pay.

Whether a school district qualifies for an exception or not is determined by a mathematical formula.

This standardized tool has the unintended consequence of furthering the gap between richer and poorer school districts in a state that is already challenged by such inequality.

Over the past 10 years, the 25 wealthiest school districts asked to raise property taxes roughly 4.5 times more frequently than the 25 poorest school districts.

Wealthier school districts can raise more money by increasing property taxes. Increasing property taxes by one mill — or a $100 increase in property taxes for every $100,000 of property value — generates more money when properties are worth more.

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Mt. Lebanon School District (left) asked to raise property taxes by more than $17 million above the rate of inflation over the past 10 years. That's more than any other Allegheny County school district. Sto-Rox (right) made a similar request just once — for less than $1 million — over the same time period. Mt. Lebanon is one of the wealthiest school districts in the county, while Sto-Rox has a much lower median household income. (Photos by Natasha Khan / PublicSource)

For instance, one mill in the Pine-Richland School District is worth about $2.7 million compared to $250,000 in the Sto-Rox School District, which is west of Pittsburgh, according to their 2016-17 budgets.

In suburban Philadelphia, the Lower Merion School District, one of the wealthiest in the state, requested to raise its property taxes more than any district in the state — $42 million over 10 years. It raised more than $26 million, including what it plans to collect this school year.

In Allegheny County, 35 of the 43 school districts requested and were approved for an exception in the past 10 years. The Mt. Lebanon School District was approved for $17 million in exceptions, the most of any school district in the county. It was followed by the North Allegheny and Pine-Richland school districts. All three are among the state’s 40 wealthiest school districts.

However, those districts also demonstrate the differences between how often the exceptions are actually used.

Pine-Richland raised taxes three times in the six years that it was approved to do so in the past decade. Mt. Lebanon increased property taxes seven times and requested a hike above inflation nearly every year.

State funding can’t keep up

When former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited a Philadelphia school last year, he called Pennsylvania’s schools the most unequal in the nation.

“The state of Pennsylvania is 50th, dead last, in terms of the inequality between how wealthy school districts are funded and poor districts," Duncan said.

Wealthier districts get more of their money from local taxes, while poorer districts receive more of their money from the state.

“The state of Pennsylvania is 50th, dead last, in terms of the inequality between how wealthy school districts are funded and poor districts."

For example, Lower Merion’s median household income is roughly $112,000 and it receives 87 percent of its revenue from local taxes. The Reading School District has a median household income of $27,000 and gets 18 percent of its money from local taxes.

Property taxes can be increased as needed, but state funding doesn’t increase as fast as costs, hurting poorer districts that rely on state aid.

The new fair funding formula has applied $205 million to help poorer districts and growing districts. That’s only 2 percent of the basic education money that’s been distributed to schools over the past two years. As the Legislature puts more money toward schools, the proportion of money using the fair funding formula will continue to grow.

The state only provides about a third of total school funding, which is one of the lowest percentages in the country, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

“The statewide [education] system is supposed to level the playing field,” said Cowell of the Education Policy and Leadership Center. “And when there has been an insufficient amount of money put in by the state...it is less effective in leveling the playing field."

Editor's note, posted Aug. 18, 12:00 p.m.: A previous version of the story contained several data inconsistencies and a quote from a policy analyst that cited incorrect information. The story has been updated with clarifications and correct data.

Reach Eric Holmberg at 412-515-0064 or at eholmberg@publicsource.org. Follow him on Twitter @holmberges.


Act 1 exception requests

To combat rapidly rising costs, like pensions, school districts can ask the Pennsylvania Department of Education for permission to raise property taxes to pay for those costs. PublicSource compiled data to show how often each of the state’s 500 school districts have made those requests over the past 10 years. Just because a district was approved for an exception, it does not mean that property taxes have gone up that much. The amount approved shows the maximum that the district could’ve raised taxes. Typically, the amount of taxes actually raised has been significantly less than the amount approved.

 

School district Exception requests in past 10 years Median household income 2014-15 enrollment Exceptions requested Exceptions approved
Lower Merion SD 10 $111,956 8,071 $42,314,011 $42,136,301
Neshaminy SD 10 $79,475 8,396 $39,264,243 $39,007,959
Allentown City SD 8 $36,578 16,483 $38,486,016 $27,458,599
Bethlehem Area SD 8 $54,630 13,681 $34,458,335 $34,356,941
Pennsbury SD 4 $84,737 10,156 $29,406,971 $29,320,310
North Penn SD 9 $79,023 12,741 $28,706,272 $24,449,665
East Stroudsburg Area SD 6 $58,719 6,979 $26,795,228 $25,694,528
Norristown Area SD 9 $55,741 7,089 $25,847,062 $24,340,317
Spring-Ford Area SD 10 $85,790 7,891 $23,432,535 $22,566,173
Lancaster SD 8 $36,980 11,259 $22,830,855 $20,341,828
Central Bucks SD 7 $97,047 19,145 $21,858,151 $21,858,151
Hazleton Area SD 6 $41,289 10,871 $21,469,928 $19,846,926
Stroudsburg Area SD 9 $59,207 4,999 $19,682,127 $19,444,609
Upper Darby SD 5 $50,029 12,193 $19,132,325 $17,811,053
Pleasant Valley SD 10 $60,951 4,990 $18,985,095 $18,224,833
Haverford Township SD 10 $93,788 5,845 $18,343,140 $17,433,860
West Chester Area SD 7 $86,579 11,618 $17,975,626 $17,909,029
Mt Lebanon SD 9 $80,914 5,305 $17,870,891 $17,710,458
Upper Dublin SD 9 $106,869 4,206 $17,845,930 $16,960,569
Pocono Mountain SD 5 $54,868 9,293 $17,447,787 $17,293,359
Bensalem Township SD 7 $60,468 6,386 $17,108,050 $17,398,841
Centennial SD 10 $65,679 5,544 $16,984,629 $17,155,947
State College Area SD 7 $49,621 6,776 $15,263,205 $15,263,205
York City SD 5 $28,819 5,433 $14,960,653 $14,339,052
Perkiomen Valley SD 8 $92,688 5,761 $14,946,368 $15,682,517
Hempfield SD 9 $67,081 6,781 $14,762,248 $13,670,188
Radnor Township SD 7 $100,129 3,658 $14,253,231 $11,952,739
Phoenixville Area SD 9 $72,763 3,738 $14,079,894 $14,123,868
Exeter Township SD 10 $73,348 4,061 $13,741,205 $13,689,380
Quakertown Community SD 7 $65,398 5,289 $13,298,935 $13,298,935
Souderton Area SD 6 $78,809 6,566 $13,176,229 $11,667,092
Kennett Consolidated SD 9 $96,952 4,212 $12,988,340 $12,240,441
Wilson SD 9 $66,693 5,970 $12,985,565 $12,964,763
Methacton SD 9 $99,910 4,974 $12,731,970 $11,585,785
Governor Mifflin SD 10 $59,818 4,069 $12,435,586 $12,728,529
Cheltenham Township SD 6 $75,831 4,627 $12,349,648 $12,589,843
North Allegheny SD 7 $95,592 8,215 $12,274,212 $12,274,212
East Penn SD 6 $70,520 8,071 $11,550,685 $11,278,169
Nazareth Area SD 6 $77,321 4,645 $11,021,201 $10,701,020
Colonial SD 7 $87,981 4,708 $10,754,621 $10,493,122
Springfield SD 9 $90,128 3,944 $10,715,765 $10,374,954
Chambersburg Area SD 5 $52,263 8,977 $10,163,654 $9,428,708
Parkland SD 5 $79,564 9,159 $9,811,577 $10,165,873
Boyertown Area SD 7 $70,023 7,031 $9,739,518 $9,729,890
Upper Moreland Township SD 6 $65,208 3,107 $9,525,420 $9,850,434
Wallingford-Swarthmore SD 6 $102,599 3,529 $9,387,983 $8,902,897
Mifflin County SD 7 $40,828 5,180 $9,360,181 $9,456,075
Marple Newtown SD 6 $78,891 3,280 $9,334,768 $9,208,733
Twin Valley SD 9 $73,158 3,351 $9,096,871 $9,090,795
Council Rock SD 4 $111,836 11,078 $8,902,222 $8,902,222
Bristol Borough SD 7 $41,446 1,208 $8,865,272 $8,825,126
Tredyffrin-Easttown SD 5 $115,089 6,553 $8,412,247 $8,367,333
Whitehall-Coplay SD 10 $55,954 4,239 $8,368,945 $8,306,232
Downingtown Area SD 3 $104,756 12,070 $8,332,873 $7,761,330
Seneca Valley SD 6 $82,385 7,201 $8,328,398 $8,328,398
Abington SD 4 $75,281 7,674 $8,137,024 $7,428,980
Ridley SD 5 $61,444 5,477 $8,001,794 $8,001,794
Owen J Roberts SD 4 $84,389 5,205 $7,825,592 $7,795,288
Red Lion Area SD 6 $57,869 5,316 $7,800,257 $8,149,049
Woodland Hills SD 2 $41,962 3,828 $7,726,238 $6,951,480
Upper Merion Area SD 7 $76,571 4,016 $7,689,369 $7,688,705
Coatesville Area SD 4 $65,962 7,015 $7,657,762 $7,072,872
Unionville-Chadds Ford SD 8 $120,179 4,039 $7,647,906 $7,576,890
Lower Moreland Township SD 10 $105,109 2,152 $7,517,016 $7,335,534
Panther Valley SD 10 $36,106 1,662 $7,243,247 $6,278,512
Pine-Richland SD 6 $111,250 4,595 $7,236,574 $7,261,893
Philipsburg-Osceola Area SD 2 $42,070 1,753 $7,182,903 $6,962,505
Eastern Lancaster County SD 10 $58,367 3,174 $7,030,754 $7,017,080
Octorara Area SD 6 $66,134 2,518 $7,007,258 $7,076,783
Solanco SD 9 $55,006 3,550 $6,957,833 $6,947,836
Springfield Township SD 10 $85,074 2,319 $6,944,073 $6,936,234
West Shore SD 5 $59,716 7,821 $6,907,900 $6,907,900
Lebanon SD 10 $35,899 4,882 $6,866,326 $6,431,185
Rose Tree Media SD 4 $89,057 3,742 $6,566,294 $6,564,045
Palmyra Area SD 9 $60,006 3,420 $6,348,562 $6,344,307
Garnet Valley SD 5 $92,961 4,748 $6,287,230 $6,471,050
Pottsgrove SD 6 $73,177 3,214 $6,228,865 $6,209,107
Central York SD 6 $64,449 5,854 $6,226,687 $6,249,884
Uniontown Area SD 2 $35,826 2,852 $6,212,509 $6,139,512
Oxford Area SD 2 $68,184 3,858 $6,189,105 $6,183,782
Fleetwood Area SD 10 $65,557 2,622 $6,003,857 $5,636,455
Bethel Park SD 6 $70,168 4,305 $5,921,740 $5,920,958
South Fayette Township SD 7 $80,804 2,877 $5,883,626 $4,460,947
Armstrong SD 4 $44,013 5,263 $5,880,871 $5,311,405
Upper Perkiomen SD 4 $68,343 3,250 $5,817,868 $5,430,165
Pennridge SD 4 $73,515 7,357 $5,616,334 $5,850,546
Shikellamy SD 9 $41,523 2,855 $5,557,247 $5,507,079
Elizabethtown Area SD 8 $59,293 3,915 $5,540,693 $5,247,130
Middletown Area SD 9 $51,866 2,293 $5,507,088 $5,505,254
Wallenpaupack Area SD 7 $53,138 3,163 $5,445,307 $5,028,949
Easton Area SD 3 $61,868 8,756 $5,408,008 $5,420,027
New Hope-Solebury SD 5 $108,784 1,511 $5,385,706 $5,150,509
Baldwin-Whitehall SD 4 $55,233 4,131 $5,296,973 $5,643,879
Conrad Weiser Area SD 6 $65,304 2,729 $5,248,410 $5,074,856
Eastern Lebanon County SD 9 $58,036 2,419 $5,199,892 $5,086,704
Quaker Valley SD 5 $71,353 1,941 $5,150,726 $5,295,798
Cornwall-Lebanon SD 5 $64,982 4,616 $5,121,044 $5,105,618
Crawford Central SD 5 $43,371 3,813 $5,084,164 $5,084,164
Upper Saint Clair SD 4 $106,444 4,089 $5,060,376 $5,019,239
Gateway SD 3 $51,960 3,430 $4,939,807 $4,939,807
Warwick SD 4 $64,079 4,154 $4,795,948 $4,795,948
Williamsport Area SD 7 $38,713 4,997 $4,780,829 $4,603,792
Southeast Delco SD 4 $48,918 4,175 $4,772,097 $4,312,609
Southern Tioga SD 7 $47,545 1,803 $4,686,605 $4,497,088
Salisbury Township SD 9 $69,685 1,540 $4,651,289 $4,469,710
Conestoga Valley SD 7 $56,316 4,309 $4,610,714 $4,354,748
Midd-West SD 5 $45,239 2,177 $4,583,040 $4,422,122
Daniel Boone Area SD 5 $76,574 3,538 $4,506,785 $4,529,993
Line Mountain SD 8 $48,815 1,229 $4,483,167 $4,342,685
Wayne Highlands SD 6 $44,956 2,651 $4,387,762 $4,387,762
Northampton Area SD 5 $62,384 5,548 $4,323,053 $4,325,510
Great Valley SD 4 $100,154 3,940 $4,281,747 $4,281,747
South Western SD 7 $69,287 4,124 $4,279,450 $4,466,528
West Mifflin Area SD 2 $46,845 2,904 $4,016,193 $659,437
William Penn SD 3 $47,319 5,101 $4,014,037 $3,791,295
Erie City SD 3 $33,007 11,815 $3,983,482 $3,516,379
Spring Grove Area SD 6 $66,792 3,842 $3,943,538 $3,750,829
Moon Area SD 5 $67,275 3,771 $3,943,175 $3,889,680
Central Dauphin SD 2 $63,783 11,059 $3,814,341 $3,802,159
Muhlenberg SD 4 $60,239 3,573 $3,732,295 $3,704,472
Indiana Area SD 5 $42,257 2,800 $3,677,243 $3,677,243
Highlands SD 3 $44,745 2,481 $3,661,912 $3,756,296
Lake-Lehman SD 6 $60,000 1,921 $3,636,470 $3,520,041
Lampeter-Strasburg SD 5 $67,392 3,044 $3,610,040 $3,606,175
Hamburg Area SD 6 $56,467 2,202 $3,605,050 $3,604,439
Donegal SD 4 $62,174 2,905 $3,601,360 $3,589,114
North Pocono SD 2 $57,577 3,021 $3,594,783 $3,594,783
Newport SD 6 $50,662 1,080 $3,535,692 $3,312,140
Tunkhannock Area SD 5 $51,446 2,549 $3,534,902 $3,534,902
Camp Hill SD 9 $65,192 1,300 $3,479,427 $3,481,175
Eastern York SD 5 $55,148 2,525 $3,374,661 $3,461,772
Jim Thorpe Area SD 4 $55,628 2,082 $3,370,263 $3,363,676
Laurel Highlands SD 4 $40,912 3,149 $3,328,706 $3,112,641
Wattsburg Area SD 7 $62,979 1,407 $3,312,147 $3,137,302
Bellefonte Area SD 7 $52,994 2,665 $3,307,290 $3,232,994
Steel Valley SD 3 $39,891 1,535 $3,269,015 $2,294,895
Wissahickon SD 2 $98,454 4,484 $3,264,580 $3,264,580
Ambridge Area SD 4 $48,948 2,593 $3,239,794 $4,871,200
Columbia Borough SD 7 $43,410 1,347 $3,207,478 $2,988,137
Western Wayne SD 3 $52,336 2,047 $3,202,284 $2,716,242
Hanover Area SD 1 $39,392 1,999 $3,189,404 $4,184,432
Slippery Rock Area SD 6 $46,791 2,057 $3,173,868 $2,215,905
West York Area SD 4 $56,391 2,954 $3,167,010 $3,159,734
Schuylkill Valley SD 6 $66,680 1,978 $3,138,661 $3,135,476
Pottstown SD 3 $45,724 3,205 $3,138,226 $2,981,351
Millcreek Township SD 3 $55,547 7,205 $3,123,059 $3,123,059
Ellwood City Area SD 7 $43,610 1,747 $3,062,461 $2,917,028
Norwin SD 3 $64,258 5,222 $3,009,768 $3,006,741
Susquenita SD 3 $61,753 1,735 $2,939,061 $2,876,517
Wyoming Area SD 5 $48,583 2,347 $2,928,953 $2,903,072
Annville-Cleona SD 8 $56,620 1,475 $2,927,137 $2,851,509
Chichester SD 3 $55,893 3,368 $2,913,357 $2,913,357
Gettysburg Area SD 5 $59,411 2,994 $2,900,991 $1,925,236
Northern Tioga SD 5 $43,554 2,051 $2,894,550 $2,798,168
Manheim Township SD 3 $67,796 5,737 $2,870,326 $2,799,674
York Suburban SD 5 $65,876 2,873 $2,869,973 $2,870,727
Marion Center Area SD 5 $51,683 1,411 $2,858,637 $2,438,184
Franklin Regional SD 4 $82,728 3,528 $2,814,723 $2,814,723
Cocalico SD 3 $62,506 3,020 $2,805,930 $2,789,702
Avon Grove SD 2 $91,508 5,012 $2,802,279 $2,802,279
Palisades SD 5 $69,021 1,708 $2,801,883 $2,802,668
Harrisburg City SD 1 $32,476 6,414 $2,721,006 $2,654,773
Derry Township SD 4 $65,138 3,399 $2,692,119 $2,680,850
Palmerton Area SD 4 $54,563 1,845 $2,657,266 $2,619,399
Brandywine Heights Area SD 8 $62,422 1,501 $2,656,946 $2,656,946
United SD 8 $48,750 1,103 $2,632,292 $2,587,908
Homer-Center SD 9 $44,100 839 $2,627,386 $2,590,364
Morrisville Borough SD 5 $61,689 876 $2,610,188 $2,583,610
Montoursville Area SD 3 $52,296 2,020 $2,602,372 $2,602,372
Somerset Area SD 6 $43,817 2,253 $2,587,175 $2,587,175
Lewisburg Area SD 8 $49,291 1,945 $2,519,670 $2,540,770
Peters Township SD 3 $107,237 4,217 $2,455,541 $2,455,541
Bald Eagle Area SD 5 $53,445 1,695 $2,444,313 $2,414,388
Penn Manor SD 2 $59,244 5,085 $2,441,950 $2,420,517
Oley Valley SD 4 $71,460 1,704 $2,429,880 $2,429,880
Pequea Valley SD 5 $58,486 1,604 $2,393,263 $2,378,341
Halifax Area SD 5 $56,350 1,053 $2,390,596 $2,352,974
Susquehanna Township SD 4 $63,357 2,679 $2,370,358 $2,370,358
Greater Latrobe SD 2 $51,879 4,023 $2,367,567 $2,279,681
Albert Gallatin Area SD 4 $38,165 3,435 $2,359,783 $1,901,389
Warren County SD 4 $44,426 4,499 $2,351,660 $2,033,134
Dallas SD 5 $64,157 2,672 $2,336,437 $2,336,437
Bristol Township SD 2 $57,128 6,301 $2,298,487 $1,871,136
North Hills SD 2 $61,587 4,271 $2,269,775 $2,269,775
Northern Lebanon SD 5 $61,500 2,289 $2,249,626 $2,249,626
Dallastown Area SD 2 $63,003 6,169 $2,226,878 $1,752,764
Kutztown Area SD 7 $59,107 1,359 $2,205,338 $2,021,196
Conewago Valley SD 4 $56,969 3,796 $2,135,779 $2,098,395
Catasauqua Area SD 2 $51,532 1,503 $2,129,049 $2,109,660
Jenkintown SD 8 $75,116 630 $2,102,485 $2,019,385
Milton Area SD 5 $43,509 2,084 $2,092,951 $2,092,951
Avonworth SD 6 $85,652 1,557 $2,065,462 $2,234,090
Wyoming Valley West SD 2 $43,927 4,730 $2,052,821 $1,740,059
Juniata Valley SD 8 $47,965 758 $2,041,399 $1,734,467
Southern Huntingdon County SD 7 $43,956 1,205 $2,031,111 $1,879,638
Southern Columbia Area SD 6 $52,251 1,421 $2,012,417 $1,938,594
Harbor Creek SD 5 $62,236 2,071 $2,007,559 $1,758,222
Crestwood SD 4 $72,094 2,861 $1,949,492 $2,156,191
Central Columbia SD 7 $55,586 1,742 $1,941,186 $1,941,186
Mount Carmel Area SD 3 $35,007 1,512 $1,918,638 $1,905,354
Old Forge SD 7 $51,135 927 $1,875,321 $1,695,266
Pittston Area SD 3 $44,750 3,405 $1,875,096 $1,885,739
Burgettstown Area SD 7 $50,897 1,210 $1,835,621 $1,678,584
Manheim Central SD 3 $63,726 2,857 $1,820,707 $1,837,965
Yough SD 4 $48,459 2,164 $1,814,400 $1,806,018
Beaver Area SD 5 $57,538 1,966 $1,811,484 $1,794,276
Northwestern Lehigh SD 2 $75,702 2,227 $1,792,844 $1,792,708
Fox Chapel Area SD 1 $76,250 4,224 $1,790,583 $1,739,049
Greencastle-Antrim SD 3 $62,453 3,027 $1,783,326 $1,807,741
Mount Union Area SD 4 $38,623 1,499 $1,781,892 $1,781,852
Southern Lehigh SD 2 $80,373 3,104 $1,780,266 $1,789,740
Trinity Area SD 2 $59,261 3,270 $1,766,870 $1,766,870
Brownsville Area SD 4 $35,263 1,660 $1,757,321 $2,051,763
Belle Vernon Area SD 1 $53,196 2,522 $1,748,036 $1,727,535
Troy Area SD 6 $49,675 1,463 $1,740,621 $1,581,366
Mahanoy Area SD 5 $35,686 1,004 $1,735,573 $1,676,770
Dubois Area SD 3 $41,669 3,704 $1,686,162 $1,299,961
Hatboro-Horsham SD 1 $80,966 4,764 $1,678,397 $1,911,899
Canon-McMillan SD 1 $62,005 5,092 $1,665,886 $1,695,886
Warrior Run SD 7 $50,471 1,549 $1,654,417 $1,635,869
Clairton City SD 4 $29,158 794 $1,616,036 $1,658,366
Keystone Central SD 2 $43,570 4,037 $1,615,250 $1,382,607
Juniata County SD 3 $47,390 2,930 $1,608,617 $1,366,821
Freeport Area SD 6 $61,632 1,856 $1,597,444 $1,523,499
Fairview SD 6 $76,602 1,617 $1,576,139 $1,576,139
Chestnut Ridge SD 2 $45,381 1,598 $1,564,207 $1,549,539
Towanda Area SD 4 $49,897 1,568 $1,544,971 $1,427,578
Mechanicsburg Area SD 1 $61,744 3,845 $1,541,107 $1,541,107
Blue Mountain SD 3 $58,838 2,648 $1,537,391 $1,394,354
East Lycoming SD 6 $53,656 1,631 $1,528,091 $1,447,939
Fairfield Area SD 2 $68,611 1,053 $1,498,343 $1,498,366
South Williamsport Area SD 7 $44,380 1,323 $1,496,145 $1,742,099
West Branch Area SD 4 $48,611 1,072 $1,476,625 $1,302,279
Valley View SD 4 $45,989 2,514 $1,469,737 $1,456,956
Wyomissing Area SD 3 $67,092 1,915 $1,454,990 $1,265,649
Tamaqua Area SD 1 $46,845 2,131 $1,445,051 $1,445,051
Northgate SD 3 $39,417 1,225 $1,441,598 $1,380,521
Ligonier Valley SD 2 $47,554 1,572 $1,433,470 $1,428,224
Freedom Area SD 4 $51,227 1,442 $1,422,463 $1,420,292
East Pennsboro Area SD 4 $62,435 2,707 $1,420,804 $1,420,804
Keystone Oaks SD 2 $52,550 1,955 $1,403,532 $1,403,532
Burrell SD 2 $53,913 1,792 $1,399,561 $1,400,486
Antietam SD 6 $48,945 1,059 $1,394,194 $1,376,192
Penn Hills SD 1 $46,842 3,986 $1,392,963 $1,392,963
Wellsboro Area SD 3 $47,066 1,496 $1,392,060 $1,358,223
Lakeland SD 2 $49,405 1,515 $1,391,565 $1,328,969
West Perry SD 3 $57,242 2,507 $1,378,954 $1,244,424
Penn-Delco SD 4 $74,003 3,374 $1,365,375 $1,365,375
Wyalusing Area SD 6 $54,794 1,327 $1,356,165 $1,489,580
Sharpsville Area SD 4 $44,939 1,316 $1,348,562 $1,347,011
Selinsgrove Area SD 4 $51,439 2,709 $1,343,385 $1,391,588
Bellwood-Antis SD 6 $60,485 1,261 $1,331,599 $1,279,230
Riverview SD 5 $48,163 998 $1,314,423 $1,314,423
Upper Adams SD 5 $57,267 1,708 $1,307,545 $1,287,524
Shenandoah Valley SD 2 $30,901 1,019 $1,299,524 $1,345,075
Saint Clair Area SD 5 $40,319 577 $1,274,913 $1,274,913
Mount Pleasant Area SD 2 $47,298 2,071 $1,250,819 $1,297,047
Mid Valley SD 4 $45,379 1,738 $1,248,370 $1,314,486
Cornell SD 3 $36,227 649 $1,231,530 $1,229,499
Northeastern York SD 2 $63,546 3,751 $1,229,594 $1,195,076
Turkeyfoot Valley Area SD 3 $37,634 381 $1,222,002 $1,222,002
Northwest Area SD 5 $51,938 1,015 $1,220,089 $1,226,109
Waynesboro Area SD 1 $51,449 4,437 $1,186,279 $1,186,126
Hempfield Area SD 2 $54,911 5,901 $1,184,870 $1,193,846
Hermitage SD 1 $53,784 2,068 $1,178,893 $1,167,524
Elizabeth Forward SD 2 $54,807 2,346 $1,156,708 $1,043,800
Carlisle Area SD 1 $54,240 5,027 $1,138,384 $753,134
Penns Valley Area SD 7 $49,038 1,437 $1,129,494 $1,129,494
Bangor Area SD 3 $58,129 2,985 $1,126,087 $1,126,087
Brentwood Borough SD 4 $52,455 1,205 $1,109,991 $976,221
Weatherly Area SD 4 $47,306 667 $1,085,428 $1,085,428
Conneaut SD 2 $44,652 2,082 $1,079,264 $664,439
Wilmington Area SD 5 $48,698 1,190 $1,078,939 $1,078,939
Muncy SD 2 $50,051 1,041 $1,065,432 $1,065,432
Clearfield Area SD 2 $40,691 2,258 $1,029,716 $849,706
Spring Cove SD 2 $46,740 1,846 $1,013,338 $1,246,432
Lackawanna Trail SD 3 $54,583 1,035 $1,007,739 $1,007,739
Karns City Area SD 3 $49,774 1,518 $1,001,703 $990,045
Washington SD 6 $37,353 1,489 $998,845 $935,707
Everett Area SD 6 $41,765 1,331 $990,983 $973,955
Montgomery Area SD 4 $49,417 918 $989,025 $974,403
Central Greene SD 3 $52,139 1,830 $987,368 $957,670
Tulpehocken Area SD 2 $60,478 1,394 $985,336 $787,754
Tussey Mountain SD 2 $40,533 1,047 $959,864 $975,692
Central Valley SD 2 $60,798 2,377 $947,346 $947,346
Sto-Rox SD 1 $29,639 1,335 $943,532 $943,532
Charleroi SD 3 $40,345 1,590 $942,632 $697,953
Jersey Shore Area SD 2 $53,174 2,558 $937,055 $922,328
Greenwood SD 6 $55,078 749 $930,216 $925,445
Western Beaver County SD 5 $53,984 715 $923,073 $957,884
Connellsville Area SD 1 $38,442 4,321 $907,069 $780,526
Pen Argyl Area SD 3 $55,516 1,642 $902,673 $899,591
Pine Grove Area SD 1 $51,198 1,622 $882,865 $882,865
Littlestown Area SD 1 $63,345 1,942 $869,910 $745,179
Montour SD 1 $67,027 2,793 $866,407 $866,407
North Schuylkill SD 2 $43,469 1,965 $865,063 $858,385
Windber Area SD 4 $37,420 1,164 $848,794 $790,839
Frazier SD 4 $49,274 1,246 $842,773 $817,398
Forest Area SD 8 $37,139 461 $833,008 $833,008
Northeast Bradford SD 1 $48,935 848 $817,331 $817,331
Big Spring SD 3 $58,200 2,616 $816,153 $795,450
Leechburg Area SD 4 $45,096 803 $796,998 $789,604
Delaware Valley SD 1 $63,708 4,742 $779,984 $779,984
Huntingdon Area SD 1 $45,124 1,967 $773,900 $779,528
Carlynton SD 2 $44,297 1,379 $768,412 $768,412
South Eastern SD 2 $67,363 2,691 $767,021 $696,488
Blackhawk SD 1 $53,690 2,431 $744,884 $744,884
New Kensington-Arnold SD 4 $32,515 2,097 $737,417 $732,677
Conemaugh Valley SD 1 $44,500 790 $730,260 $653,172
Northern Cambria SD 4 $43,307 1,129 $728,637 $671,709
Hanover Public SD 2 $44,249 1,728 $720,785 $366,541
Derry Area SD 3 $43,887 2,143 $685,957 $659,009
Bloomsburg Area SD 1 $39,688 1,582 $674,415 $674,415
Benton Area SD 4 $47,250 697 $669,416 $524,714
Penns Manor Area SD 3 $46,173 914 $646,445 $646,067
Union Area SD 1 $41,071 749 $601,345 $367,115
Chartiers-Houston SD 2 $55,945 1,113 $596,198 $563,156
Greensburg Salem SD 1 $41,741 2,892 $574,378 $574,378
Tuscarora SD 2 $53,718 2,498 $571,369 $571,369
General McLane SD 1 $52,188 2,173 $563,801 $563,801
Ephrata Area SD 1 $54,569 4,167 $546,999 $546,999
Moniteau SD 1 $49,074 1,303 $540,080 $540,080
Sharon City SD 2 $29,213 2,063 $539,077 $466,240
Southern York County SD 1 $73,284 3,027 $538,793 $538,770
Girard SD 2 $49,073 1,743 $536,849 $536,849
Brockway Area SD 3 $45,257 1,005 $531,774 $538,302
New Brighton Area SD 3 $40,094 1,454 $526,880 $322,383
Steelton-Highspire SD 1 $45,611 1,332 $515,971 $516,488
Rochester Area SD 2 $43,588 734 $515,082 $462,057
Deer Lakes SD 1 $57,702 1,988 $500,647 $500,647
West Allegheny SD 1 $68,267 3,230 $492,690 $492,690
Northern Lehigh SD 1 $58,750 1,668 $484,949 $484,949
Dover Area SD 1 $55,919 3,558 $466,904 $466,904
Bermudian Springs SD 2 $63,434 2,009 $466,025 $466,025
Central Fulton SD 3 $46,698 1,013 $441,073 $420,141
Plum Borough SD 1 $67,639 3,863 $435,964 $432,527
Upper Dauphin Area SD 2 $48,900 1,213 $433,352 $408,947
Mohawk Area SD 1 $49,912 1,494 $428,815 $428,284
Brookville Area SD 2 $42,690 1,567 $427,245 $445,257
Rockwood Area SD 2 $48,009 734 $421,819 $411,418
Williamsburg Community SD 1 $44,841 483 $418,361 $405,221
Williams Valley SD 1 $46,403 1,001 $416,326 $416,326
Clarion Area SD 2 $43,218 806 $410,388 $409,526
Conemaugh Township Area SD 1 $49,411 980 $369,808 $369,808
Fannett-Metal SD 4 $49,440 502 $365,111 $357,782
Interboro SD 1 $57,266 3,442 $363,490 $363,490
Hampton Township SD 1 $84,351 2,952 $355,084 $355,084
Blacklick Valley SD 1 $39,225 657 $337,905 $337,905
Shippensburg Area SD 1 $45,816 3,366 $333,899 $313,937
Dunmore SD 1 $48,422 1,550 $332,065 $332,065
Sayre Area SD 1 $44,364 1,112 $330,092 $330,092
Wilkinsburg Borough SD 1 $33,483 896 $317,730 $236,606
Avella Area SD 1 $62,757 558 $313,147 $121,250
Danville Area SD 1 $53,560 2,238 $312,322 $312,322
Wilson Area SD 2 $59,799 2,182 $310,407 $310,407
Shanksville-Stonycreek SD 6 $50,385 337 $299,902 $292,857
Portage Area SD 2 $45,530 918 $272,657 $272,657
California Area SD 1 $41,313 923 $270,440 $270,440
South Side Area SD 2 $65,514 1,130 $260,548 $260,548
Jefferson-Morgan SD 2 $43,149 791 $230,161 $212,160
Shenango Area SD 2 $50,794 1,133 $215,762 $208,258
Canton Area SD 1 $44,300 962 $208,002 $176,323
Millville Area SD 1 $50,063 655 $204,944 $62,281
East Allegheny SD 1 $37,942 1,635 $198,118 $114,413
Westmont Hilltop SD 2 $60,804 1,522 $196,431 $196,431
McGuffey SD 1 $56,319 1,743 $161,693 $235,098
Carmichaels Area SD 1 $40,265 1,069 $153,246 $92,938
Mifflinburg Area SD 1 $47,599 2,008 $139,474 $137,378
Greater Nanticoke Area SD 1 $38,426 2,247 $138,418 $123,240
Ridgway Area SD 2 $42,853 862 $133,082 $173,527
Laurel SD 1 $54,259 1,244 $132,212 $113,557
Austin Area SD 1 $38,750 209 $128,068 $128,068
Riverside SD 1 $45,229 1,552 $116,978 $116,978
Iroquois SD 1 $52,317 1,218 $109,763 $88,536
Valley Grove SD 1 $42,938 931 $104,520 $104,520
Mountain View SD 1 $50,346 1,025 $103,615 $103,615
Northern Bedford County SD 3 $52,152 994 $99,227 $99,227
Allegheny Valley SD 1 $49,393 943 $79,514 $79,514
Forbes Road SD 1 $47,794 359 $65,704 $65,704
Blairsville-Saltsburg SD 1 $45,248 1,634 $65,520 $65,520
Shade-Central City SD 1 $41,203 467 $50,193 $34,826
Northern York County SD 1 $64,847 3,155 $35,162 $35,162
Harmony Area SD 1 $41,116 316 $29,266 $29,266
Corry Area SD 1 $39,252 2,176 $19,726 $19,726
Bryn Athyn SD 0 $82,946 N/A $0 $0
Mars Area SD 0 $79,923 3,262 $0 $0
Cumberland Valley SD 0 $79,329 8,397 $0 $0
Abington Heights SD 0 $72,791 3,286 $0 $0
Penn-Trafford SD 0 $71,399 3,977 $0 $0
South Park SD 0 $69,365 1,888 $0 $0
South Middleton SD 0 $69,300 2,140 $0 $0
Lower Dauphin SD 0 $68,527 3,710 $0 $0
West Jefferson Hills SD 0 $67,596 2,802 $0 $0
Saucon Valley SD 0 $66,582 2,269 $0 $0
Hopewell Area SD 0 $61,748 2,208 $0 $0
Riverside Beaver County SD 0 $61,160 1,471 $0 $0
Chartiers Valley SD 0 $59,373 3,309 $0 $0
Shaler Area SD 0 $59,309 4,559 $0 $0
South Butler County SD 0 $57,500 2,526 $0 $0
Neshannock Township SD 0 $57,083 1,230 $0 $0
Elk Lake SD 0 $56,000 1,231 $0 $0
Fort LeBoeuf SD 0 $54,426 2,113 $0 $0
Montrose Area SD 0 $54,198 1,408 $0 $0
Fort Cherry SD 0 $54,194 1,067 $0 $0
Millersburg Area SD 0 $53,958 819 $0 $0
Central Cambria SD 0 $51,917 1,667 $0 $0
West Greene SD 0 $51,809 702 $0 $0
Southern Fulton SD 0 $51,283 751 $0 $0
Hollidaysburg Area SD 0 $51,006 3,399 $0 $0
Lehighton Area SD 0 $50,349 2,365 $0 $0
Northwestern SD 0 $50,336 1,452 $0 $0
Mercer Area SD 0 $49,901 1,191 $0 $0
Bentworth SD 0 $49,746 1,160 $0 $0
Forest City Regional SD 0 $49,743 806 $0 $0
North Clarion County SD 0 $49,676 587 $0 $0
Forest Hills SD 0 $49,491 1,897 $0 $0
North East SD 0 $49,462 1,684 $0 $0
Lakeview SD 0 $49,360 1,129 $0 $0
Schuylkill Haven Area SD 0 $49,012 1,255 $0 $0
Saint Marys Area SD 0 $48,935 2,106 $0 $0
Kiski Area SD 0 $48,877 3,761 $0 $0
Butler Area SD 0 $48,793 7,177 $0 $0
Cranberry Area SD 0 $48,417 1,167 $0 $0
Bethlehem-Center SD 0 $48,090 1,248 $0 $0
Ringgold SD 0 $48,049 2,938 $0 $0
Grove City Area SD 0 $48,002 2,529 $0 $0
Tri-Valley SD 0 $47,995 868 $0 $0
Allegheny-Clarion Valley SD 0 $47,877 669 $0 $0
Tyrone Area SD 0 $47,726 1,921 $0 $0
Commodore Perry SD 0 $47,580 507 $0 $0
Penn Cambria SD 0 $47,446 1,715 $0 $0
Coudersport Area SD 0 $47,380 796 $0 $0
Athens Area SD 0 $47,144 2,133 $0 $0
Richland SD 0 $47,064 1,619 $0 $0
Keystone SD 0 $46,961 1,042 $0 $0
Loyalsock Township SD 0 $46,843 1,517 $0 $0
Penncrest SD 0 $46,695 3,050 $0 $0
Southeastern Greene SD 0 $46,422 592 $0 $0
Blue Ridge SD 0 $46,226 1,060 $0 $0
Cambria Heights SD 0 $45,783 1,419 $0 $0
Apollo-Ridge SD 0 $45,765 1,251 $0 $0
Union City Area SD 0 $45,257 1,159 $0 $0
Otto-Eldred SD 0 $44,953 702 $0 $0
Bedford Area SD 0 $44,861 1,835 $0 $0
Johnsonburg Area SD 0 $44,552 622 $0 $0
Meyersdale Area SD 0 $44,493 868 $0 $0
North Star SD 0 $44,245 1,128 $0 $0
Southmoreland SD 0 $44,206 1,940 $0 $0
Smethport Area SD 0 $44,159 880 $0 $0
Jamestown Area SD 0 $43,625 525 $0 $0
Kane Area SD 0 $43,582 1,182 $0 $0
Franklin Area SD 0 $43,510 1,965 $0 $0
Berlin Brothersvalley SD 0 $43,426 792 $0 $0
Berwick Area SD 0 $43,230 2,899 $0 $0
Union SD 0 $42,978 600 $0 $0
Bradford Area SD 0 $42,529 2,599 $0 $0
Reynolds SD 0 $42,413 1,110 $0 $0
Redbank Valley SD 0 $42,364 1,124 $0 $0
Punxsutawney Area SD 0 $42,277 2,184 $0 $0
Sullivan County SD 0 $41,786 625 $0 $0
Jeannette City SD 0 $41,773 1,027 $0 $0
Greenville Area SD 0 $41,690 1,352 $0 $0
South Allegheny SD 0 $41,279 1,539 $0 $0
Cameron County SD 0 $41,157 598 $0 $0
Minersville Area SD 0 $41,157 1,218 $0 $0
Northern Potter SD 0 $40,925 574 $0 $0
Purchase Line SD 0 $40,893 946 $0 $0
Claysburg-Kimmel SD 0 $40,886 835 $0 $0
West Middlesex Area SD 0 $40,882 1,007 $0 $0
Curwensville Area SD 0 $40,224 1,078 $0 $0
Oswayo Valley SD 0 $40,026 434 $0 $0
Galeton Area SD 0 $40,000 347 $0 $0
Pittsburgh SD 0 $39,864 24,657 $0 $0
Pottsville Area SD 0 $39,630 2,799 $0 $0
Susquehanna Community SD 0 $39,555 820 $0 $0
Salisbury-Elk Lick SD 0 $39,013 288 $0 $0
Glendale SD 0 $38,880 819 $0 $0
Oil City Area SD 0 $38,492 2,058 $0 $0
Titusville Area SD 0 $38,472 2,061 $0 $0
Moshannon Valley SD 0 $38,254 890 $0 $0
Ferndale Area SD 0 $38,209 679 $0 $0
Altoona Area SD 0 $38,198 7,764 $0 $0
Port Allegany SD 0 $37,610 868 $0 $0
Scranton SD 0 $37,551 10,009 $0 $0
Wilkes-Barre Area SD 0 $37,474 6,895 $0 $0
Philadelphia City SD 0 $37,460 134,241 $0 $0
Shamokin Area SD 0 $36,745 2,514 $0 $0
Aliquippa SD 0 $34,816 1,156 $0 $0
Clarion-Limestone Area SD 0 $34,517 870 $0 $0
Big Beaver Falls Area SD 0 $34,414 1,672 $0 $0
McKeesport Area SD 0 $34,255 3,530 $0 $0
Carbondale Area SD 0 $33,774 1,647 $0 $0
Monessen City SD 0 $32,970 883 $0 $0
Farrell Area SD 0 $32,071 725 $0 $0
Chester-Upland SD 0 $29,933 3,343 $0 $0
New Castle Area SD 0 $29,844 3,183 $0 $0
Greater Johnstown SD 0 $28,949 3,003 $0 $0
Reading SD 0 $26,867 17,303 $0 $0
Midland Borough SD 0 $24,970 286 $0 $0
Duquesne City SD 0 $19,811 345 $0 $0
  • Mike Ivanusic

    Unfortunately, the problem in PA is not the pension system, which was funded more than 150% and was healthy before 9-11. In the recession that followed, Gov. Tom Ridge pushed legislation / acts that gave schools and other entities the option to delay or postpone payments into the system, while employees contributed the whole time. Many places, once the recession was turning around, continued to NOT pay into the system, resulting in this shortfall — which the Republican governor knew would happen to break the system. If those entities replaced that money or used fracking fees, for example, to replace that chunk, the system would work with your typical small tax increases.