The budget calls for no tax increase for Chester County residents and a $5 tax increase for Delaware County residents.
Holly Herman , Patch Staff
WEST CHESTER, PA – The West Chester Area school board Wednesday night adopted a $302.2 million school budget for the 2023-24 school year, amounting to a $5.3 million, or 1.8 percent, increase over this year’s spending plan.
The 2023-24 budget has no tax increase for Chester County property owners and a .1 percent increase for Delaware County property owners, which amounts to $5 for the average property owner.
The district has 11,972 students. The district has 16 schools, including three high schools, three middle schools, and 10 elementary schools.
The differences in county average assessments account for formula differences resulting in the differing tax rates.
The property tax millage rate for West Chester remains one of the lowest in Chester County.
The average assessed home value in Chester County is now $189,850, which is approximately one-half of the home’s market value. The district is comprised of the West Chester borough and the surrounding townships of East Goshen, West Goshen, East Bradford, West Whiteland, Westtown, and Thornbury in Chester County.
The average assessed home value in the Delaware County portion of the district is $502,336, which represents 100 percent of the market value. Delaware County section is Thornbury Township.
The district used savings from the 2022-23 operations to help offset the need for millage increases for the 2023-24 budget. The millage rate is 22.43 in Chester County and 9.94 in Delaware County.
The district’s undesignated fund balance is approximately $19.7 million.
The largest component of the budget is the salaries and benefits for the district’s 1,549 employees, which rose $6.9 million, a 4.7 percent increase.
The 2023-24 budget includes the addition of $1.9 million in staffing costs in the following areas:
- 3 special education teachers
- 12 behavior specialists for our intensive autistic and emotional support K-12 classrooms
- 3 behavior specialists
- 1 school nurse
- 1 psychologist
- 3 intervention specialists at the middle school level
- 1 community engagement specialist
- 3 instructional coaches
- 3 athletic trainers
- 1 custodian
- 2 technology specialist
- 1 human resources specialist
- 1 electrician
The increases in staffing costs are partially offset by reductions in services that were previously outsourced as contracted services.
“The 2023-24 budget reflects a strong commitment to providing enhanced resources and experiences for all of our students as they strive to achieve their personal best,” said Dr. Kalia Reynolds substitute superintendent.
Other increases include more than $1.5 million directly related to the following state and federal mandates:
- $850,000 million increase in state-mandated pension expenses, a 2.1 percent increase over the current year’s budget.
- $700,000 in transportation expenses, a 4.1 percent increase over the current year.
“Each year, we are tasked with balancing the best interests of all stakeholders while creating engaging and effective learning environments,” said Sue Tiernan, school board president. “I am grateful for the collaborative process that this board and district administration have developed to ensure that responsibility is clearly understood and the strategic goals of the district are achieved.”
Gary Bevilacqua, director of the board’s finance committee, said the school board encourages the community to explore the budget documents, attend committee presentations, and ask questions at our monthly property and finance committee meetings.
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