Upper St. Clair School Board has adopted the district’s 2020-21 final budget, totaling $87.8 million, with an accompanying real estate tax increase of .5197 mills.
Approvals at the board’s meeting on Monday result in a new tax rate of 26.8972 mills. The annual tax impact of the increase on a $265,000 home, the average assessed home in Upper St. Clair, is $137.72, or $11.48 per month.
Throughout the budgeting process, the administrative team and school board members embraced the theme “Sustaining Excellence” as they navigated challenges that included rising fixed costs, substantial revenue losses and continued uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The final budget includes staff reductions across various employee groups totaling the equivalent of 10.5 positions. Substantial cuts, adding up to more than $800,000, have been made to the professional development, technology, operations and supplies budgets. In addition, all district administrators volunteered to take a pay freeze.
“These difficult decisions have resulted in an expenditure reduction of $1.7 million and enable us to deliver a final budget that safeguards our educational programs,” Superintendent John Rozzo said. “We made many difficult decisions throughout this budget process that balanced our fiduciary responsibilities to the community with our educational responsibilities to our students.”
In addition to preserving the district’s educational programs, the 2020-21 budget allows for the district to expand technology access for students.
To this point, all students in fifth through 12th grades had been provided with an iPad or Chromebook. During the upcoming school year, all Upper St. Clair students will be issued a district device to further support educational continuity.
With a 1.97% millage increase, Upper St. Clair falls well below the maximum 2.6% inflationary index established by Pennsylvania Department of Education under Act 1 of 2006.
“This budget was passed without compromising the future financial stability of the district,” Rozzo said. “The 2019-20 and 2020-21 budgets yielded the two lowest tax increases in over a decade.”
The 2020-21 final budget is available on the district’s website, www.uscsd.k12.pa.us, and at the administration building, 1775 McLaughlin Run Road, adjacent to the high school stadium.