York County House Members Issue Statement on School Consolidation Study
12/16/2014
YORK – Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) on Tuesday officially released “Fiscal Implications of a York County School District Consolidation,” the results of a study commissioned last year by the county’s House delegation. The report takes a look at the potential savings for taxpayers that might be realized, if the administrative functions of York County’s public school districts were to be consolidated.

Members of the county’s House delegation, Reps. Keith Gillespie (R-Hellam), Seth Grove (R-Dover), Mike Regan (R-Dillsburg), Stan Saylor (R-Red Lion) and Kevin Schreiber (D-York City); Reps.-elect Kate Klunk (R-Hanover) and Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York Township); and Rep. Will Tallman (R-Adams/Cumberland), who was a delegation member at the time of the study’s commissioning, issued the following statement in reaction to the findings:

“We first need to commend IFO Deputy Director Mark Ryan and his staff for their work. Performing this task was a tremendous undertaking and we appreciate their unbiased endeavors on behalf of the York County taxpayer.

“Consolidation of schools is often mentioned as a potentially more efficient use of taxpayer dollars. This study takes a hard look at the variables involved and finds the idea to be cost prohibitive.

“The excessive number of administrators employed by each district is frequently mentioned by constituents as a reason for consolidation. The study gives credit where credit is due, in that it mentions York County schools being cost conscious with regard to administrative staffing as compared to the statewide average.

“This is where the good news for taxpayers ends, as costs associated with consolidation outweigh potential savings. Merging administrative functions would create a series of winners and losers as existing property tax relief would increase for some county residents and decrease for others. This situation mirrors the current pursuit of statewide property tax relief through ‘one- size-fits-all’ legislation.

“According to the latest figures, York County school districts are carrying $856 million in outstanding debt. Consolidation makes this obligation ‘everyone’s’ problem, thus penalizing the more fiscally responsible districts.

“By law, teacher salaries cannot be reduced by a district without employee consent. As a result, renegotiated teacher contracts would no doubt be elevated to the higher amount among competing districts. The cost to taxpayers is estimated at more than $31 million.

“The study did not take into account the anticipated loss of federal education funding due to the size of the district, as well as the impact of Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12 and the York County School of Technology. It is safe to say the costs associated with these three essential factors in the education equation will only serve to strengthen the argument against consolidation.

“As members of the General Assembly, we are charged with being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. With that in mind, our stewardship of education dollars means continued pursuit of a fair funding formula and addressing the burdensome mandates that weigh on our public school administrators.”

The IFO’s full report and the power point presentation used at Tuesday’s meeting are available for viewing at www.ifo.state.pa.us.

York County House Delegation
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Scott Little
717.260.6137
slittle@pahousegop.com 
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