Pennsylvania legislators about a decade ago passed a law to protect homeowners by limiting property tax hikes to the rate of inflation. Has the law, known as Act 1, worked?

Not for some homeowners. Exceptions were built into the law so school districts could raise property taxes as much as they needed only to cover certain rising costs, like pensions.

As a result, school districts have increased property taxes $465 million above the rate of inflation in the past decade and requested raising property taxes much higher.

CLICK HERE to use our searchable table to find out if your school district requested property tax increases and how many times.

What has been driving tax increases? Pensions. A 2010 pension reform law increased how much school districts and the state paid into the underfunded school pension system. That helped the pension fund, but increased the burden on schools. The result?

The state’s contribution to school pensions doubled from roughly $500 million to $1 billion from 2010 to 2012. It doubled again to $2 billion by 2014. And doubled again to $4 billion this year. Over the next two years, pension costs are expected to slow and only increase about 15 percent.

In general, wealthier school districts have dealt with mounting costs through property tax hikes while poorer districts have not raised rates as often, according to a PublicSource analysis of financial data from the Department of Education.

Poorer school districts that stand to garner less money through property tax increases may have instead eliminated programs, reduced staff, or balanced their budget in some other way.

Ron Cowell, president of the Education Policy and Leadership Center in Harrisburg, said art and foreign language education are often on the chopping block in some school districts. Other school districts have increased class sizes or cut support services such as nursing and counseling.

“This is not just about money,” he said. “It’s about impact on students.”

Pensions are becoming a greater burden on schools

School pensions are funded by employees, investment income and by state government. The state splits its payments with local school districts. See how much more the state and schools have paid in recent years:

School employees have contributed roughly the same amount to their pensions each year for the past decade…

…while investment income has varied with the ups and downs of the stock market…

…but, mandated contributions by school districts and the state have skyrocketed.

Who is using Act 1?

In the past 10 years, most school districts in Pennsylvania — 384 out of 500 — requested to raise property taxes above inflation at least once.

In total, the Pennsylvania Department of Education approved $1.6 billion worth of these requests, known as Act 1 exceptions, over the past decade.

Districts were approved for at least $540 million in property tax increases to fund pensions and $510 million for special education costs.

School districts don’t always end up raising taxes because they find another way to pay.

Whether a school district qualifies for an exception or not is determined by a mathematical formula.

This standardized tool has the unintended consequence of furthering the gap between richer and poorer school districts in a state that is already challenged by such inequality.

Over the past 10 years, the 25 wealthiest school districts asked to raise property taxes roughly 4.5 times more frequently than the 25 poorest school districts.

Wealthier school districts can raise more money by increasing property taxes. Increasing property taxes by one mill — or a $100 increase in property taxes for every $100,000 of property value — generates more money when properties are worth more.

Mt. Lebanon School District (left) asked to raise property taxes by more than $17 million above the rate of inflation over the past 10 years. That’s more than any other Allegheny County school district. Sto-Rox (right) made a similar request just once — for less than $1 million — over the same time period. Mt. Lebanon is one of the wealthiest school districts in the county, while Sto-Rox has a much lower median household income. (Photos by Natasha Khan / PublicSource)

For instance, one mill in the Pine-Richland School District is worth about $2.7 million compared to $250,000 in the Sto-Rox School District, which is west of Pittsburgh, according to their 2016-17 budgets.

In suburban Philadelphia, the Lower Merion School District, one of the wealthiest in the state, requested to raise its property taxes more than any district in the state — $42 million over 10 years. It raised more than $26 million, including what it plans to collect this school year.

In Allegheny County, 35 of the 43 school districts requested and were approved for an exception in the past 10 years. The Mt. Lebanon School District was approved for $17 million in exceptions, the most of any school district in the county. It was followed by the North Allegheny and Pine-Richland school districts. All three are among the state’s 40 wealthiest school districts.

However, those districts also demonstrate the differences between how often the exceptions are actually used.

Pine-Richland raised taxes three times in the six years that it was approved to do so in the past decade. Mt. Lebanon increased property taxes seven times and requested a hike above inflation nearly every year.

State funding can’t keep up

When former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited a Philadelphia school last year, he called Pennsylvania’s schools the most unequal in the nation.

“The state of Pennsylvania is 50th, dead last, in terms of the inequality between how wealthy school districts are funded and poor districts,” Duncan said.

Wealthier districts get more of their money from local taxes, while poorer districts receive more of their money from the state.

“The state of Pennsylvania is 50th, dead last, in terms of the inequality between how wealthy school districts are funded and poor districts.”

For example, Lower Merion’s median household income is roughly $112,000 and it receives 87 percent of its revenue from local taxes. The Reading School District has a median household income of $27,000 and gets 18 percent of its money from local taxes.

Property taxes can be increased as needed, but state funding doesn’t increase as fast as costs, hurting poorer districts that rely on state aid.

The new fair funding formula has applied $205 million to help poorer districts and growing districts. That’s only 2 percent of the basic education money that’s been distributed to schools over the past two years. As the Legislature puts more money toward schools, the proportion of money using the fair funding formula will continue to grow.

The state only provides about a third of total school funding, which is one of the lowest percentages in the country, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

“The statewide [education] system is supposed to level the playing field,” said Cowell of the Education Policy and Leadership Center. “And when there has been an insufficient amount of money put in by the state…it is less effective in leveling the playing field.”

Editor’s note, posted Aug. 18, 12:00 p.m.: A previous version of the story contained several data inconsistencies and a quote from a policy analyst that cited incorrect information. The story has been updated with clarifications and correct data.

Reach Eric Holmberg at 412-515-0064 or at Follow him on Twitter @holmberges.

Act 1 exception requests

To combat rapidly rising costs, like pensions, school districts can ask the Pennsylvania Department of Education for permission to raise property taxes to pay for those costs. PublicSource compiled data to show how often each of the state’s 500 school districts have made those requests over the past 10 years. Just because a district was approved for an exception, it does not mean that property taxes have gone up that much. The amount approved shows the maximum that the district could’ve raised taxes. Typically, the amount of taxes actually raised has been significantly less than the amount approved.

School districtException requests in past 10 yearsMedian household income2014-15 enrollmentExceptions requestedExceptions approved
Lower Merion SD10$111,9568,071$42,314,011$42,136,301
Neshaminy SD10$79,4758,396$39,264,243$39,007,959
Allentown City SD8$36,57816,483$38,486,016$27,458,599
Bethlehem Area SD8$54,63013,681$34,458,335$34,356,941
Pennsbury SD4$84,73710,156$29,406,971$29,320,310
North Penn SD9$79,02312,741$28,706,272$24,449,665
East Stroudsburg Area SD6$58,7196,979$26,795,228$25,694,528
Norristown Area SD9$55,7417,089$25,847,062$24,340,317
Spring-Ford Area SD10$85,7907,891$23,432,535$22,566,173
Lancaster SD8$36,98011,259$22,830,855$20,341,828
Central Bucks SD7$97,04719,145$21,858,151$21,858,151
Hazleton Area SD6$41,28910,871$21,469,928$19,846,926
Stroudsburg Area SD9$59,2074,999$19,682,127$19,444,609
Upper Darby SD5$50,02912,193$19,132,325$17,811,053
Pleasant Valley SD10$60,9514,990$18,985,095$18,224,833
Haverford Township SD10$93,7885,845$18,343,140$17,433,860
West Chester Area SD7$86,57911,618$17,975,626$17,909,029
Mt Lebanon SD9$80,9145,305$17,870,891$17,710,458
Upper Dublin SD9$106,8694,206$17,845,930$16,960,569
Pocono Mountain SD5$54,8689,293$17,447,787$17,293,359
Bensalem Township SD7$60,4686,386$17,108,050$17,398,841
Centennial SD10$65,6795,544$16,984,629$17,155,947
State College Area SD7$49,6216,776$15,263,205$15,263,205
York City SD5$28,8195,433$14,960,653$14,339,052
Perkiomen Valley SD8$92,6885,761$14,946,368$15,682,517
Hempfield SD9$67,0816,781$14,762,248$13,670,188
Radnor Township SD7$100,1293,658$14,253,231$11,952,739
Phoenixville Area SD9$72,7633,738$14,079,894$14,123,868
Exeter Township SD10$73,3484,061$13,741,205$13,689,380
Quakertown Community SD7$65,3985,289$13,298,935$13,298,935
Souderton Area SD6$78,8096,566$13,176,229$11,667,092
Kennett Consolidated SD9$96,9524,212$12,988,340$12,240,441
Wilson SD9$66,6935,970$12,985,565$12,964,763
Methacton SD9$99,9104,974$12,731,970$11,585,785
Governor Mifflin SD10$59,8184,069$12,435,586$12,728,529
Cheltenham Township SD6$75,8314,627$12,349,648$12,589,843
North Allegheny SD7$95,5928,215$12,274,212$12,274,212
East Penn SD6$70,5208,071$11,550,685$11,278,169
Nazareth Area SD6$77,3214,645$11,021,201$10,701,020
Colonial SD7$87,9814,708$10,754,621$10,493,122
Springfield SD9$90,1283,944$10,715,765$10,374,954
Chambersburg Area SD5$52,2638,977$10,163,654$9,428,708
Parkland SD5$79,5649,159$9,811,577$10,165,873
Boyertown Area SD7$70,0237,031$9,739,518$9,729,890
Upper Moreland Township SD6$65,2083,107$9,525,420$9,850,434
Wallingford-Swarthmore SD6$102,5993,529$9,387,983$8,902,897
Mifflin County SD7$40,8285,180$9,360,181$9,456,075
Marple Newtown SD6$78,8913,280$9,334,768$9,208,733
Twin Valley SD9$73,1583,351$9,096,871$9,090,795
Council Rock SD4$111,83611,078$8,902,222$8,902,222
Bristol Borough SD7$41,4461,208$8,865,272$8,825,126
Tredyffrin-Easttown SD5$115,0896,553$8,412,247$8,367,333
Whitehall-Coplay SD10$55,9544,239$8,368,945$8,306,232
Downingtown Area SD3$104,75612,070$8,332,873$7,761,330
Seneca Valley SD6$82,3857,201$8,328,398$8,328,398
Abington SD4$75,2817,674$8,137,024$7,428,980
Ridley SD5$61,4445,477$8,001,794$8,001,794
Owen J Roberts SD4$84,3895,205$7,825,592$7,795,288
Red Lion Area SD6$57,8695,316$7,800,257$8,149,049
Woodland Hills SD2$41,9623,828$7,726,238$6,951,480
Upper Merion Area SD7$76,5714,016$7,689,369$7,688,705
Coatesville Area SD4$65,9627,015$7,657,762$7,072,872
Unionville-Chadds Ford SD8$120,1794,039$7,647,906$7,576,890
Lower Moreland Township SD10$105,1092,152$7,517,016$7,335,534
Panther Valley SD10$36,1061,662$7,243,247$6,278,512
Pine-Richland SD6$111,2504,595$7,236,574$7,261,893
Philipsburg-Osceola Area SD2$42,0701,753$7,182,903$6,962,505
Eastern Lancaster County SD10$58,3673,174$7,030,754$7,017,080
Octorara Area SD6$66,1342,518$7,007,258$7,076,783
Solanco SD9$55,0063,550$6,957,833$6,947,836
Springfield Township SD10$85,0742,319$6,944,073$6,936,234
West Shore SD5$59,7167,821$6,907,900$6,907,900
Lebanon SD10$35,8994,882$6,866,326$6,431,185
Rose Tree Media SD4$89,0573,742$6,566,294$6,564,045
Palmyra Area SD9$60,0063,420$6,348,562$6,344,307
Garnet Valley SD5$92,9614,748$6,287,230$6,471,050
Pottsgrove SD6$73,1773,214$6,228,865$6,209,107
Central York SD6$64,4495,854$6,226,687$6,249,884
Uniontown Area SD2$35,8262,852$6,212,509$6,139,512
Oxford Area SD2$68,1843,858$6,189,105$6,183,782
Fleetwood Area SD10$65,5572,622$6,003,857$5,636,455
Bethel Park SD6$70,1684,305$5,921,740$5,920,958
South Fayette Township SD7$80,8042,877$5,883,626$4,460,947
Armstrong SD4$44,0135,263$5,880,871$5,311,405
Upper Perkiomen SD4$68,3433,250$5,817,868$5,430,165
Pennridge SD4$73,5157,357$5,616,334$5,850,546
Shikellamy SD9$41,5232,855$5,557,247$5,507,079
Elizabethtown Area SD8$59,2933,915$5,540,693$5,247,130
Middletown Area SD9$51,8662,293$5,507,088$5,505,254
Wallenpaupack Area SD7$53,1383,163$5,445,307$5,028,949
Easton Area SD3$61,8688,756$5,408,008$5,420,027
New Hope-Solebury SD5$108,7841,511$5,385,706$5,150,509
Baldwin-Whitehall SD4$55,2334,131$5,296,973$5,643,879
Conrad Weiser Area SD6$65,3042,729$5,248,410$5,074,856
Eastern Lebanon County SD9$58,0362,419$5,199,892$5,086,704
Quaker Valley SD5$71,3531,941$5,150,726$5,295,798
Cornwall-Lebanon SD5$64,9824,616$5,121,044$5,105,618
Crawford Central SD5$43,3713,813$5,084,164$5,084,164
Upper Saint Clair SD4$106,4444,089$5,060,376$5,019,239
Gateway SD3$51,9603,430$4,939,807$4,939,807
Warwick SD4$64,0794,154$4,795,948$4,795,948
Williamsport Area SD7$38,7134,997$4,780,829$4,603,792
Southeast Delco SD4$48,9184,175$4,772,097$4,312,609
Southern Tioga SD7$47,5451,803$4,686,605$4,497,088
Salisbury Township SD9$69,6851,540$4,651,289$4,469,710
Conestoga Valley SD7$56,3164,309$4,610,714$4,354,748
Midd-West SD5$45,2392,177$4,583,040$4,422,122
Daniel Boone Area SD5$76,5743,538$4,506,785$4,529,993
Line Mountain SD8$48,8151,229$4,483,167$4,342,685
Wayne Highlands SD6$44,9562,651$4,387,762$4,387,762
Northampton Area SD5$62,3845,548$4,323,053$4,325,510
Great Valley SD4$100,1543,940$4,281,747$4,281,747
South Western SD7$69,2874,124$4,279,450$4,466,528
West Mifflin Area SD2$46,8452,904$4,016,193$659,437
William Penn SD3$47,3195,101$4,014,037$3,791,295
Erie City SD3$33,00711,815$3,983,482$3,516,379
Spring Grove Area SD6$66,7923,842$3,943,538$3,750,829
Moon Area SD5$67,2753,771$3,943,175$3,889,680
Central Dauphin SD2$63,78311,059$3,814,341$3,802,159
Muhlenberg SD4$60,2393,573$3,732,295$3,704,472
Indiana Area SD5$42,2572,800$3,677,243$3,677,243
Highlands SD3$44,7452,481$3,661,912$3,756,296
Lake-Lehman SD6$60,0001,921$3,636,470$3,520,041
Lampeter-Strasburg SD5$67,3923,044$3,610,040$3,606,175
Hamburg Area SD6$56,4672,202$3,605,050$3,604,439
Donegal SD4$62,1742,905$3,601,360$3,589,114
North Pocono SD2$57,5773,021$3,594,783$3,594,783
Newport SD6$50,6621,080$3,535,692$3,312,140
Tunkhannock Area SD5$51,4462,549$3,534,902$3,534,902
Camp Hill SD9$65,1921,300$3,479,427$3,481,175
Eastern York SD5$55,1482,525$3,374,661$3,461,772
Jim Thorpe Area SD4$55,6282,082$3,370,263$3,363,676
Laurel Highlands SD4$40,9123,149$3,328,706$3,112,641
Wattsburg Area SD7$62,9791,407$3,312,147$3,137,302
Bellefonte Area SD7$52,9942,665$3,307,290$3,232,994
Steel Valley SD3$39,8911,535$3,269,015$2,294,895
Wissahickon SD2$98,4544,484$3,264,580$3,264,580
Ambridge Area SD4$48,9482,593$3,239,794$4,871,200
Columbia Borough SD7$43,4101,347$3,207,478$2,988,137
Western Wayne SD3$52,3362,047$3,202,284$2,716,242
Hanover Area SD1$39,3921,999$3,189,404$4,184,432
Slippery Rock Area SD6$46,7912,057$3,173,868$2,215,905
West York Area SD4$56,3912,954$3,167,010$3,159,734
Schuylkill Valley SD6$66,6801,978$3,138,661$3,135,476
Pottstown SD3$45,7243,205$3,138,226$2,981,351
Millcreek Township SD3$55,5477,205$3,123,059$3,123,059
Ellwood City Area SD7$43,6101,747$3,062,461$2,917,028
Norwin SD3$64,2585,222$3,009,768$3,006,741
Susquenita SD3$61,7531,735$2,939,061$2,876,517
Wyoming Area SD5$48,5832,347$2,928,953$2,903,072
Annville-Cleona SD8$56,6201,475$2,927,137$2,851,509
Chichester SD3$55,8933,368$2,913,357$2,913,357
Gettysburg Area SD5$59,4112,994$2,900,991$1,925,236
Northern Tioga SD5$43,5542,051$2,894,550$2,798,168
Manheim Township SD3$67,7965,737$2,870,326$2,799,674
York Suburban SD5$65,8762,873$2,869,973$2,870,727
Marion Center Area SD5$51,6831,411$2,858,637$2,438,184
Franklin Regional SD4$82,7283,528$2,814,723$2,814,723
Cocalico SD3$62,5063,020$2,805,930$2,789,702
Avon Grove SD2$91,5085,012$2,802,279$2,802,279
Palisades SD5$69,0211,708$2,801,883$2,802,668
Harrisburg City SD1$32,4766,414$2,721,006$2,654,773
Derry Township SD4$65,1383,399$2,692,119$2,680,850
Palmerton Area SD4$54,5631,845$2,657,266$2,619,399
Brandywine Heights Area SD8$62,4221,501$2,656,946$2,656,946
United SD8$48,7501,103$2,632,292$2,587,908
Homer-Center SD9$44,100839$2,627,386$2,590,364
Morrisville Borough SD5$61,689876$2,610,188$2,583,610
Montoursville Area SD3$52,2962,020$2,602,372$2,602,372
Somerset Area SD6$43,8172,253$2,587,175$2,587,175
Lewisburg Area SD8$49,2911,945$2,519,670$2,540,770
Peters Township SD3$107,2374,217$2,455,541$2,455,541
Bald Eagle Area SD5$53,4451,695$2,444,313$2,414,388
Penn Manor SD2$59,2445,085$2,441,950$2,420,517
Oley Valley SD4$71,4601,704$2,429,880$2,429,880
Pequea Valley SD5$58,4861,604$2,393,263$2,378,341
Halifax Area SD5$56,3501,053$2,390,596$2,352,974
Susquehanna Township SD4$63,3572,679$2,370,358$2,370,358
Greater Latrobe SD2$51,8794,023$2,367,567$2,279,681
Albert Gallatin Area SD4$38,1653,435$2,359,783$1,901,389
Warren County SD4$44,4264,499$2,351,660$2,033,134
Dallas SD5$64,1572,672$2,336,437$2,336,437
Bristol Township SD2$57,1286,301$2,298,487$1,871,136
North Hills SD2$61,5874,271$2,269,775$2,269,775
Northern Lebanon SD5$61,5002,289$2,249,626$2,249,626
Dallastown Area SD2$63,0036,169$2,226,878$1,752,764
Kutztown Area SD7$59,1071,359$2,205,338$2,021,196
Conewago Valley SD4$56,9693,796$2,135,779$2,098,395
Catasauqua Area SD2$51,5321,503$2,129,049$2,109,660
Jenkintown SD8$75,116630$2,102,485$2,019,385
Milton Area SD5$43,5092,084$2,092,951$2,092,951
Avonworth SD6$85,6521,557$2,065,462$2,234,090
Wyoming Valley West SD2$43,9274,730$2,052,821$1,740,059
Juniata Valley SD8$47,965758$2,041,399$1,734,467
Southern Huntingdon County SD7$43,9561,205$2,031,111$1,879,638
Southern Columbia Area SD6$52,2511,421$2,012,417$1,938,594
Harbor Creek SD5$62,2362,071$2,007,559$1,758,222
Crestwood SD4$72,0942,861$1,949,492$2,156,191
Central Columbia SD7$55,5861,742$1,941,186$1,941,186
Mount Carmel Area SD3$35,0071,512$1,918,638$1,905,354
Old Forge SD7$51,135927$1,875,321$1,695,266
Pittston Area SD3$44,7503,405$1,875,096$1,885,739
Burgettstown Area SD7$50,8971,210$1,835,621$1,678,584
Manheim Central SD3$63,7262,857$1,820,707$1,837,965
Yough SD4$48,4592,164$1,814,400$1,806,018
Beaver Area SD5$57,5381,966$1,811,484$1,794,276
Northwestern Lehigh SD2$75,7022,227$1,792,844$1,792,708
Fox Chapel Area SD1$76,2504,224$1,790,583$1,739,049
Greencastle-Antrim SD3$62,4533,027$1,783,326$1,807,741
Mount Union Area SD4$38,6231,499$1,781,892$1,781,852
Southern Lehigh SD2$80,3733,104$1,780,266$1,789,740
Trinity Area SD2$59,2613,270$1,766,870$1,766,870
Brownsville Area SD4$35,2631,660$1,757,321$2,051,763
Belle Vernon Area SD1$53,1962,522$1,748,036$1,727,535
Troy Area SD6$49,6751,463$1,740,621$1,581,366
Mahanoy Area SD5$35,6861,004$1,735,573$1,676,770
Dubois Area SD3$41,6693,704$1,686,162$1,299,961
Hatboro-Horsham SD1$80,9664,764$1,678,397$1,911,899
Canon-McMillan SD1$62,0055,092$1,665,886$1,695,886
Warrior Run SD7$50,4711,549$1,654,417$1,635,869
Clairton City SD4$29,158794$1,616,036$1,658,366
Keystone Central SD2$43,5704,037$1,615,250$1,382,607
Juniata County SD3$47,3902,930$1,608,617$1,366,821
Freeport Area SD6$61,6321,856$1,597,444$1,523,499
Fairview SD6$76,6021,617$1,576,139$1,576,139
Chestnut Ridge SD2$45,3811,598$1,564,207$1,549,539
Towanda Area SD4$49,8971,568$1,544,971$1,427,578
Mechanicsburg Area SD1$61,7443,845$1,541,107$1,541,107
Blue Mountain SD3$58,8382,648$1,537,391$1,394,354
East Lycoming SD6$53,6561,631$1,528,091$1,447,939
Fairfield Area SD2$68,6111,053$1,498,343$1,498,366
South Williamsport Area SD7$44,3801,323$1,496,145$1,742,099
West Branch Area SD4$48,6111,072$1,476,625$1,302,279
Valley View SD4$45,9892,514$1,469,737$1,456,956
Wyomissing Area SD3$67,0921,915$1,454,990$1,265,649
Tamaqua Area SD1$46,8452,131$1,445,051$1,445,051
Northgate SD3$39,4171,225$1,441,598$1,380,521
Ligonier Valley SD2$47,5541,572$1,433,470$1,428,224
Freedom Area SD4$51,2271,442$1,422,463$1,420,292
East Pennsboro Area SD4$62,4352,707$1,420,804$1,420,804
Keystone Oaks SD2$52,5501,955$1,403,532$1,403,532
Burrell SD2$53,9131,792$1,399,561$1,400,486
Antietam SD6$48,9451,059$1,394,194$1,376,192
Penn Hills SD1$46,8423,986$1,392,963$1,392,963
Wellsboro Area SD3$47,0661,496$1,392,060$1,358,223
Lakeland SD2$49,4051,515$1,391,565$1,328,969
West Perry SD3$57,2422,507$1,378,954$1,244,424
Penn-Delco SD4$74,0033,374$1,365,375$1,365,375
Wyalusing Area SD6$54,7941,327$1,356,165$1,489,580
Sharpsville Area SD4$44,9391,316$1,348,562$1,347,011
Selinsgrove Area SD4$51,4392,709$1,343,385$1,391,588
Bellwood-Antis SD6$60,4851,261$1,331,599$1,279,230
Riverview SD5$48,163998$1,314,423$1,314,423
Upper Adams SD5$57,2671,708$1,307,545$1,287,524
Shenandoah Valley SD2$30,9011,019$1,299,524$1,345,075
Saint Clair Area SD5$40,319577$1,274,913$1,274,913
Mount Pleasant Area SD2$47,2982,071$1,250,819$1,297,047
Mid Valley SD4$45,3791,738$1,248,370$1,314,486
Cornell SD3$36,227649$1,231,530$1,229,499
Northeastern York SD2$63,5463,751$1,229,594$1,195,076
Turkeyfoot Valley Area SD3$37,634381$1,222,002$1,222,002
Northwest Area SD5$51,9381,015$1,220,089$1,226,109
Waynesboro Area SD1$51,4494,437$1,186,279$1,186,126
Hempfield Area SD2$54,9115,901$1,184,870$1,193,846
Hermitage SD1$53,7842,068$1,178,893$1,167,524
Elizabeth Forward SD2$54,8072,346$1,156,708$1,043,800
Carlisle Area SD1$54,2405,027$1,138,384$753,134
Penns Valley Area SD7$49,0381,437$1,129,494$1,129,494
Bangor Area SD3$58,1292,985$1,126,087$1,126,087
Brentwood Borough SD4$52,4551,205$1,109,991$976,221
Weatherly Area SD4$47,306667$1,085,428$1,085,428
Conneaut SD2$44,6522,082$1,079,264$664,439
Wilmington Area SD5$48,6981,190$1,078,939$1,078,939
Muncy SD2$50,0511,041$1,065,432$1,065,432
Clearfield Area SD2$40,6912,258$1,029,716$849,706
Spring Cove SD2$46,7401,846$1,013,338$1,246,432
Lackawanna Trail SD3$54,5831,035$1,007,739$1,007,739
Karns City Area SD3$49,7741,518$1,001,703$990,045
Washington SD6$37,3531,489$998,845$935,707
Everett Area SD6$41,7651,331$990,983$973,955
Montgomery Area SD4$49,417918$989,025$974,403
Central Greene SD3$52,1391,830$987,368$957,670
Tulpehocken Area SD2$60,4781,394$985,336$787,754
Tussey Mountain SD2$40,5331,047$959,864$975,692
Central Valley SD2$60,7982,377$947,346$947,346
Sto-Rox SD1$29,6391,335$943,532$943,532
Charleroi SD3$40,3451,590$942,632$697,953
Jersey Shore Area SD2$53,1742,558$937,055$922,328
Greenwood SD6$55,078749$930,216$925,445
Western Beaver County SD5$53,984715$923,073$957,884
Connellsville Area SD1$38,4424,321$907,069$780,526
Pen Argyl Area SD3$55,5161,642$902,673$899,591
Pine Grove Area SD1$51,1981,622$882,865$882,865
Littlestown Area SD1$63,3451,942$869,910$745,179
Montour SD1$67,0272,793$866,407$866,407
North Schuylkill SD2$43,4691,965$865,063$858,385
Windber Area SD4$37,4201,164$848,794$790,839
Frazier SD4$49,2741,246$842,773$817,398
Forest Area SD8$37,139461$833,008$833,008
Northeast Bradford SD1$48,935848$817,331$817,331
Big Spring SD3$58,2002,616$816,153$795,450
Leechburg Area SD4$45,096803$796,998$789,604
Delaware Valley SD1$63,7084,742$779,984$779,984
Huntingdon Area SD1$45,1241,967$773,900$779,528
Carlynton SD2$44,2971,379$768,412$768,412
South Eastern SD2$67,3632,691$767,021$696,488
Blackhawk SD1$53,6902,431$744,884$744,884
New Kensington-Arnold SD4$32,5152,097$737,417$732,677
Conemaugh Valley SD1$44,500790$730,260$653,172
Northern Cambria SD4$43,3071,129$728,637$671,709
Hanover Public SD2$44,2491,728$720,785$366,541
Derry Area SD3$43,8872,143$685,957$659,009
Bloomsburg Area SD1$39,6881,582$674,415$674,415
Benton Area SD4$47,250697$669,416$524,714
Penns Manor Area SD3$46,173914$646,445$646,067
Union Area SD1$41,071749$601,345$367,115
Chartiers-Houston SD2$55,9451,113$596,198$563,156
Greensburg Salem SD1$41,7412,892$574,378$574,378
Tuscarora SD2$53,7182,498$571,369$571,369
General McLane SD1$52,1882,173$563,801$563,801
Ephrata Area SD1$54,5694,167$546,999$546,999
Moniteau SD1$49,0741,303$540,080$540,080
Sharon City SD2$29,2132,063$539,077$466,240
Southern York County SD1$73,2843,027$538,793$538,770
Girard SD2$49,0731,743$536,849$536,849
Brockway Area SD3$45,2571,005$531,774$538,302
New Brighton Area SD3$40,0941,454$526,880$322,383
Steelton-Highspire SD1$45,6111,332$515,971$516,488
Rochester Area SD2$43,588734$515,082$462,057
Deer Lakes SD1$57,7021,988$500,647$500,647
West Allegheny SD1$68,2673,230$492,690$492,690
Northern Lehigh SD1$58,7501,668$484,949$484,949
Dover Area SD1$55,9193,558$466,904$466,904
Bermudian Springs SD2$63,4342,009$466,025$466,025
Central Fulton SD3$46,6981,013$441,073$420,141
Plum Borough SD1$67,6393,863$435,964$432,527
Upper Dauphin Area SD2$48,9001,213$433,352$408,947
Mohawk Area SD1$49,9121,494$428,815$428,284
Brookville Area SD2$42,6901,567$427,245$445,257
Rockwood Area SD2$48,009734$421,819$411,418
Williamsburg Community SD1$44,841483$418,361$405,221
Williams Valley SD1$46,4031,001$416,326$416,326
Clarion Area SD2$43,218806$410,388$409,526
Conemaugh Township Area SD1$49,411980$369,808$369,808
Fannett-Metal SD4$49,440502$365,111$357,782
Interboro SD1$57,2663,442$363,490$363,490
Hampton Township SD1$84,3512,952$355,084$355,084
Blacklick Valley SD1$39,225657$337,905$337,905
Shippensburg Area SD1$45,8163,366$333,899$313,937
Dunmore SD1$48,4221,550$332,065$332,065
Sayre Area SD1$44,3641,112$330,092$330,092
Wilkinsburg Borough SD1$33,483896$317,730$236,606
Avella Area SD1$62,757558$313,147$121,250
Danville Area SD1$53,5602,238$312,322$312,322
Wilson Area SD2$59,7992,182$310,407$310,407
Shanksville-Stonycreek SD6$50,385337$299,902$292,857
Portage Area SD2$45,530918$272,657$272,657
California Area SD1$41,313923$270,440$270,440
South Side Area SD2$65,5141,130$260,548$260,548
Jefferson-Morgan SD2$43,149791$230,161$212,160
Shenango Area SD2$50,7941,133$215,762$208,258
Canton Area SD1$44,300962$208,002$176,323
Millville Area SD1$50,063655$204,944$62,281
East Allegheny SD1$37,9421,635$198,118$114,413
Westmont Hilltop SD2$60,8041,522$196,431$196,431
McGuffey SD1$56,3191,743$161,693$235,098
Carmichaels Area SD1$40,2651,069$153,246$92,938
Mifflinburg Area SD1$47,5992,008$139,474$137,378
Greater Nanticoke Area SD1$38,4262,247$138,418$123,240
Ridgway Area SD2$42,853862$133,082$173,527
Laurel SD1$54,2591,244$132,212$113,557
Austin Area SD1$38,750209$128,068$128,068
Riverside SD1$45,2291,552$116,978$116,978
Iroquois SD1$52,3171,218$109,763$88,536
Valley Grove SD1$42,938931$104,520$104,520
Mountain View SD1$50,3461,025$103,615$103,615
Northern Bedford County SD3$52,152994$99,227$99,227
Allegheny Valley SD1$49,393943$79,514$79,514
Forbes Road SD1$47,794359$65,704$65,704
Blairsville-Saltsburg SD1$45,2481,634$65,520$65,520
Shade-Central City SD1$41,203467$50,193$34,826
Northern York County SD1$64,8473,155$35,162$35,162
Harmony Area SD1$41,116316$29,266$29,266
Corry Area SD1$39,2522,176$19,726$19,726
Bryn Athyn SD0$82,946N/A$0$0
Mars Area SD0$79,9233,262$0$0
Cumberland Valley SD0$79,3298,397$0$0
Abington Heights SD0$72,7913,286$0$0
Penn-Trafford SD0$71,3993,977$0$0
South Park SD0$69,3651,888$0$0
South Middleton SD0$69,3002,140$0$0
Lower Dauphin SD0$68,5273,710$0$0
West Jefferson Hills SD0$67,5962,802$0$0
Saucon Valley SD0$66,5822,269$0$0
Hopewell Area SD0$61,7482,208$0$0
Riverside Beaver County SD0$61,1601,471$0$0
Chartiers Valley SD0$59,3733,309$0$0
Shaler Area SD0$59,3094,559$0$0
South Butler County SD0$57,5002,526$0$0
Neshannock Township SD0$57,0831,230$0$0
Elk Lake SD0$56,0001,231$0$0
Fort LeBoeuf SD0$54,4262,113$0$0
Montrose Area SD0$54,1981,408$0$0
Fort Cherry SD0$54,1941,067$0$0
Millersburg Area SD0$53,958819$0$0
Central Cambria SD0$51,9171,667$0$0
West Greene SD0$51,809702$0$0
Southern Fulton SD0$51,283751$0$0
Hollidaysburg Area SD0$51,0063,399$0$0
Lehighton Area SD0$50,3492,365$0$0
Northwestern SD0$50,3361,452$0$0
Mercer Area SD0$49,9011,191$0$0
Bentworth SD0$49,7461,160$0$0
Forest City Regional SD0$49,743806$0$0
North Clarion County SD0$49,676587$0$0
Forest Hills SD0$49,4911,897$0$0
North East SD0$49,4621,684$0$0
Lakeview SD0$49,3601,129$0$0
Schuylkill Haven Area SD0$49,0121,255$0$0
Saint Marys Area SD0$48,9352,106$0$0
Kiski Area SD0$48,8773,761$0$0
Butler Area SD0$48,7937,177$0$0
Cranberry Area SD0$48,4171,167$0$0
Bethlehem-Center SD0$48,0901,248$0$0
Ringgold SD0$48,0492,938$0$0
Grove City Area SD0$48,0022,529$0$0
Tri-Valley SD0$47,995868$0$0
Allegheny-Clarion Valley SD0$47,877669$0$0
Tyrone Area SD0$47,7261,921$0$0
Commodore Perry SD0$47,580507$0$0
Penn Cambria SD0$47,4461,715$0$0
Coudersport Area SD0$47,380796$0$0
Athens Area SD0$47,1442,133$0$0
Richland SD0$47,0641,619$0$0
Keystone SD0$46,9611,042$0$0
Loyalsock Township SD0$46,8431,517$0$0
Penncrest SD0$46,6953,050$0$0
Southeastern Greene SD0$46,422592$0$0
Blue Ridge SD0$46,2261,060$0$0
Cambria Heights SD0$45,7831,419$0$0
Apollo-Ridge SD0$45,7651,251$0$0
Union City Area SD0$45,2571,159$0$0
Otto-Eldred SD0$44,953702$0$0
Bedford Area SD0$44,8611,835$0$0
Johnsonburg Area SD0$44,552622$0$0
Meyersdale Area SD0$44,493868$0$0
North Star SD0$44,2451,128$0$0
Southmoreland SD0$44,2061,940$0$0
Smethport Area SD0$44,159880$0$0
Jamestown Area SD0$43,625525$0$0
Kane Area SD0$43,5821,182$0$0
Franklin Area SD0$43,5101,965$0$0
Berlin Brothersvalley SD0$43,426792$0$0
Berwick Area SD0$43,2302,899$0$0
Union SD0$42,978600$0$0
Bradford Area SD0$42,5292,599$0$0
Reynolds SD0$42,4131,110$0$0
Redbank Valley SD0$42,3641,124$0$0
Punxsutawney Area SD0$42,2772,184$0$0
Sullivan County SD0$41,786625$0$0
Jeannette City SD0$41,7731,027$0$0
Greenville Area SD0$41,6901,352$0$0
South Allegheny SD0$41,2791,539$0$0
Cameron County SD0$41,157598$0$0
Minersville Area SD0$41,1571,218$0$0
Northern Potter SD0$40,925574$0$0
Purchase Line SD0$40,893946$0$0
Claysburg-Kimmel SD0$40,886835$0$0
West Middlesex Area SD0$40,8821,007$0$0
Curwensville Area SD0$40,2241,078$0$0
Oswayo Valley SD0$40,026434$0$0
Galeton Area SD0$40,000347$0$0
Pittsburgh SD0$39,86424,657$0$0
Pottsville Area SD0$39,6302,799$0$0
Susquehanna Community SD0$39,555820$0$0
Salisbury-Elk Lick SD0$39,013288$0$0
Glendale SD0$38,880819$0$0
Oil City Area SD0$38,4922,058$0$0
Titusville Area SD0$38,4722,061$0$0
Moshannon Valley SD0$38,254890$0$0
Ferndale Area SD0$38,209679$0$0
Altoona Area SD0$38,1987,764$0$0
Port Allegany SD0$37,610868$0$0
Scranton SD0$37,55110,009$0$0
Wilkes-Barre Area SD0$37,4746,895$0$0
Philadelphia City SD0$37,460134,241$0$0
Shamokin Area SD0$36,7452,514$0$0
Aliquippa SD0$34,8161,156$0$0
Clarion-Limestone Area SD0$34,517870$0$0
Big Beaver Falls Area SD0$34,4141,672$0$0
McKeesport Area SD0$34,2553,530$0$0
Carbondale Area SD0$33,7741,647$0$0
Monessen City SD0$32,970883$0$0
Farrell Area SD0$32,071725$0$0
Chester-Upland SD0$29,9333,343$0$0
New Castle Area SD0$29,8443,183$0$0
Greater Johnstown SD0$28,9493,003$0$0
Reading SD0$26,86717,303$0$0
Midland Borough SD0$24,970286$0$0
Duquesne City SD0$19,811345$0$0

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Eric Holmberg was a reporter for PublicSource between 2014 and 2016.

One reply on “Why are your property taxes going up? You can blame school pensions.”

  1. Unfortunately, the problem in PA is not the pension system, which was funded more than 150% and was healthy before 9-11. In the recession that followed, Gov. Tom Ridge pushed legislation / acts that gave schools and other entities the option to delay or postpone payments into the system, while employees contributed the whole time. Many places, once the recession was turning around, continued to NOT pay into the system, resulting in this shortfall — which the Republican governor knew would happen to break the system. If those entities replaced that money or used fracking fees, for example, to replace that chunk, the system would work with your typical small tax increases.

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