Upper St. Clair School Board on Monday approved the district’s 2021-22 proposed final budget, totaling $91.748 million.
The pending plan calls for a real estate tax rate of 27.6772 mills, representing a 2.9% increase. The extra .78 mills means that property owners will pay $78 more per $100,000 of assessed value.
“The proposed final budget takes into consideration both the short and long-term financial health of the district, while maintaining excellence in education,” Superintendent John Rozzo said. “The budget continues to support all existing programs and activities, while providing funding for essential capital projects and purchases that were deferred due to the pandemic.”
School districts throughout the nation have received money through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, along with Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding, to assist with pandemic-related expenses. In Pennsylvania, ESSER funding is distributed through the Department of Education using the federal Title I formula.
At $824,511, Upper St. Clair School District received among the lowest ESSER II and III funding and, at $204.69, the lowest per-student allocation of the 665 Pennsylvania school districts and charter/cybercharter schools. Meanwhile, six cyber charter schools collected ESSER amounts ranging from $4.268 million to $47.145 million.
In Upper St. Clair, 2020-21 ESSER Funding was used to purchase technology including student iPads, laptops, video-conferencing equipment, OWL labs, Promethean ActivPanels as well as desk dividers. Planned use of ESSER funding for 2021-22 includes additional instructional technology, operations equipment, summer remediation and contingency planning related to instructional models and curriculum.
Throughout the 2021-22 budget process, which began in December, the district’s leadership team has focused on three primary objectives, “maintain a high-quality education for our students; balance the needs of the school district while recognizing our fiduciary responsibilities to the community, and remain cognizant of the interdependence of all aspects that directly and indirectly affect our students’ school experience,” according to Scott Burchill, director of business and finance.
The school board will vote on the final budget and real estate tax rate at 8 a.m. June 28, 2021. The morning meeting is open to the public.
“Throughout these next few weeks, we will continue to evaluate revenue projections and analyze the potential for savings while closely monitoring variables such as enrollment, class size, state and federal mandates, students’ needs, and other factors that impact student learning,” Burchill said.
The 2021-22 proposed final budget is available on the district’s website, www.uscsd.k12.pa.us, and at the administrative building, 1775 McLaughlin Run Road.