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

Voters to Decide School Referendum Tuesday, Many Other Options in Primary Election

by on May 19, 2014 6:15 AM

State College area voters are faced with many choices in Tuesday's Primary Election.

None of those choices will be bigger than the referendum vote on proposed renovations for the State College Area High School.

All registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, can vote on the referendum question, which will read:

"Shall debt in the sum of ($85 million) for the purpose of financing new construction and renovations for the State College Area High School be authorized to be incurred as a debt approved by the electors?"

If approved, the $85 million loan in the referendum would ultimately result in a tax increase for property owners in the district.

The 7.2 percent tax increase will be determined based on a property's assessed value. The district calculated the percentage tax increase based on the 2013-2014 property tax rate of 38.75 mills, or $38.75 per $1,000 of assessed value.

For example, for a property with a $100,000 market value, the assessed value of the property would be $28,409 and the estimated annual tax would be $79 or $7 a month.

For a property with a $200,000 market value, the assessed value would be $63,920, and the estimated annual tax would be $178 or $15 a month.

The referendum tax would remain in effect until the debt for the high school is paid in full, which is an estimated 30 years.

The total project cost is estimated at $115 million with a 5.3 percent interest rate and a term of 30 years. The $30 million balance will be funded through the appropriation of a current tax.

Voters will also decide a number of statewide political races. Several Democrats are running for governor, lieutenant governor and Congress.

Four Demorcrats are vying for a spot on the ballot in the General Election to go up against Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican who is seeking a second term.

Democrats who are seeking the governor's seat include Tom Wolf of York County, Robert McCord of Montgomery County, Katie McGinty of Chester County and Allyson Schwartz of Montgomery County.

Wolf previously served as the state's secretary of revenue and is CEO of WOLF, a kitchen cabinet supplier. McCord is currently the state treasurer. McGinty is an operating partner of Element Partners, an environmental technology private equity firm. Schwartz is a congresswoman for the 13th District and is the only female in 20-member Pennsylvania delegation.

Five Democrats are competing for a spot on the November ballot and a chance to run against Lt. Governor Jim Cawley, a Republican who is seeking another term.

Democrats seeking the lieutenant governor's seat are Mike Stack of Philadelphia, Mark Critz of Cambria County, Mark Smith of Bradford County, Brandon Neuman of Washington County and Brad Koplinski of Dauphin County.

Stack served four terms in the state Senate and serves one weekend a month as a Judge Advocate General prosecutor in the Pennsylvania National Guard. Critz finished the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha's term in office and was re-elected to a two-year term in 2010, which ended in 2013. Smith serves on the Bradford County Board of Commissioners. He was the youngest member to ever serve as the board's chair. Neuman is serving his second term in the state House. Koplinski serves on Harrisburg City Council.

In the 5th Congressional District, two Democrats are seeking a slot on the November ballot to go up against U.S. Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson, a Republican who is seeking another term.

Thomas Tarantella, of Clinton County, served in the U.S. Army for 22 years during which he was a member of the Rapid Deployment Force, a Paratrooper, and a Lite Fighter.

Kerith Strano Taylor, of Jefferson County, runs her own family law practice in Brookville where she conducts custody conciliation conferences in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court for families underrepresented by counsel.

Jennifer Miller is a reporter for She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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