State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

School Official Says 'Double-Dip' Pension Costs Local Taxpayers $140,000

by on March 12, 2013 6:19 AM

Editor's note: A previous version of this story ran Tuesday morning, March 12, that did not use the final version of the State College Area School Board of Director's resolution. The story has been updated with the final version of the resolution. 

A "pension double-dip" has cost taxpayers $140,000 in the State College Area School District each year, State College Area School District Business Administrator Randy Brown said Monday night. 

The State College Area School Board of Directors approved a resolution calling for reform of the Commonwealth's charter and cyber charter school funding by the board of school directors at its regular meeting Monday night. 

The 'double-dip' comes from school districts being required to pay charter and cyber charter schools for their employer pension contribution, combined with the state reimbursing charter schools for up to 50 percent of their pension contribution. In short, charter and cyber charter schools can receive payment for the same costs twice.

"This pension 'double-dip' is costing taxpayers an additional $50 million statewide, and $140,000 in the SCASD, each year," Brown said. 

Charter and cyber charter schools are funded by the Commonwealth through only a basic education subsidy, which causes the bulk of the charter school expenses to be shouldered by local taxpayers. According to district figures, the State College Area's charter and cyber charter school expenditures since 2008 total $18 million, while only about $2.5 million has been reimbursed to the district by the state.

In the resolution, board members call upon state legislators to "adopt a formula for funding charter and cyber charter schools to ensure that funds provided by the taxpayers for public education are equitably distributed to school districts, charter schools and cyber charter schools and are used for their intended purpose." 

The resolutions also asks "that funding for charter schools not be allowed to exceed the actual expenses needed to educate their students, as verified by independent audit," and for legislators to independently determine the actual costs of educating students at cyber-charter schools so tuition can be set at a rate that "more closely reflects the true costs these schools incur to educate their students."

The resolution in its entirety is below. 

  • Approved a bond refunding proposal

According to the district, the estimated savings exceed $400,000 

  • Approved the bid award for the Radio Park Asbestos Removal to the lowest bidder, R. L. Abatement, Inc., in the amount of $26,410

The board discussed the Wonderland Charter School request, which will come back as an action item at a later date. The school is up for renewal and is asking to add fourth and fifth grades. It began as a kindergarten through second-grade facility and has since been expanding. 

Last month, Gov. Tom Corbett released his proposed 2013-14 budget. Still in the preliminary stages, the board will be updated on it routinely in order for officials to draw up the school district's preliminary budget proposal. 

According to district officials, the process by the state legislature is moving "in a positive direction," albeit "at a very slow pace" because of the pending pension reform.

On April 8, the board will be presented with a refined budget proposal and further discussion will follow on April 22. On May 6, they will consider approving a proposed final budget for 2013-14.

Next Monday, the board will have a regular meeting at 7 p.m. followed by a work session where a bid will be awarded for the Memorial Field West Side Bleacher Project. 

Charter Resolution Rev by

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
Next Article
Penn State to Hold Three Presidential Search Forums Next Week
March 11, 2013 4:56 PM
by Laura Nichols
Penn State to Hold Three Presidential Search Forums Next Week
Disclaimer: Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

order food online