Hampton School District to receive higher state allocations

Friday, September 6, 2019 | 12:01 AM

While the state did provide Hampton Township schools with more funding allocations compared to last year, the district had hoped for a higher percentage — though it won’t affect any current budgeting plans.

Jeff Kline, director of administration for Hampton school district, provided a report last month reviewing 2019-20 Pennsylvania State Budget allocations to Hampton.

There are three main subsidy categories the state uses to allocate funding, including basic education, special education and the ready-to-learn grant, said Kline.

Total allocations to Hampton school district for 2019-20 were $4,148 less than a previous original state budget and the HTSD current adopted budget. However, it was $114,355 more than the 2018-19 allocations, which reflects a total subsidy increase to the district from last year of 1.65 percent.

However, it’s still lower than the formerly publicized 3 to 4 percent of increases in the state education budget, said Kline.

This was a disappointment from administration and board as in regard to previous headlines and press releases touting the large investment in education in the state budget, he said.

“Obviously, the state has a very difficult and involved budget, but the 1.65 percent increase to Hampton doesn’t keep up with the rate of inflation nor the Act 1 Index,” said Kline.

The Act 1 index is a millage rate level set annually by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in which school districts in the state must fund budgets without exceeding. This rate impacts a school district’s ability to raise taxes above a certain percentage.

Hampton Township school board member Larry Vasko suggested a lot has to do with the township’s overall financial status.

“The state increases doesn’t mean every school district gets the same percentage increase. Since Hampton is a more affluent district we got a lower percentage increase,” said Vasko.

Statewide, the 2019-20 enacted Pennsylvania budget increased 2.6 percent in basic education funding over the 2018-19 appropriation, according to education.pa.gov. Special education category increased by 4.4 percent over last year, per the website..

Hampton received $294,130 in the Ready to Learn Block Grant, compared to Pine-Richland at $418,675 or $66,366 for Quaker Valley and $706,471 to Shaler, per www.education.pa.gov.

The final budget for HTSD for 2019-20 was approved 6 to 1 with school board member Larry Vasko opposed. Revenues were approved at $53,098,418, expenditures at $54,074,418 and the utilization of $576,000 from the Public School Employees’ Retirement System Stabilization Fund and $400,000 from the unassigned fund balance, according to a June board meeting report. The real estate tax rate increased from 18.95 mills to 19.38 mills, or by 2.27 percent. Hampton has the seventh-lowest millage rate out of 42 for Allegheny County.

Kline said since Hampton’s adopted budget was within $4,148 of what they will actually receive, the 2019-20 operating budget and plans are not affected by state’s allocation amount.

“In the bigger picture, though, every dollar that we don’t receive from the state, we have to raise locally — through real estate taxes and earned income taxes or reduce programs,” said Kline.