According to the Scranton Times, the Democrat-dominated Scranton School Board will raise taxes by nearly 6% for 2009. This comes on the heels of the School Board passing a $109+ million budget for 2009. The vote was unanimous.
On the brighter side, some will see a reduction in taxes. $4.3 million in gaming revenue will be used to provide some measure of property tax relief.
According to a district official, some 13,050 Scranton properties are eligible for the state’s homestead property relief tax exclusion.
According to another article in the Scranton Times, the 5.6% tax increase is a fraction under the 6.4% top rate allowed by state law.
The School District places much of the blame on the need for the increase on the new contract reached with the teachers’ union.
This marks the fourth tax increase in a row for the Scranton School District. (2008, 2007, 2006)
In 2005, while conducting candidate interviews with the Scranton Times, Director Frank Brazill ran with the priority of keeping taxes “as low as possible.” Director Todd Hartman stated that he ran to get “the best education for our children that money can buy” and to “watch over wasteful spending” and for “fairness for our taxpayers.” Director Brian Jeffers said his top priority as a school director would be the “implementation of the state’s tax relief program.” Director Robert Lesh ran to “continue fiscal responsibility.” All four School Directors are up for re-election in 2009. All are also Democrats.