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PMSD School Board rejects Fact Finder recommendations: Sends strong message that taxpayers matter

Date: December 6, 2019

Release No.: 12-21-2019

 

PMSD School Board rejects Fact Finder recommendations: Sends strong message that taxpayers matter

 

Fact Finder’s Report ignores tax burden imposed on property owners, promotes budgeting strategy of continually raising property taxes to the maximum allowable rates

 

The Pocono Mountain School District Board of Education rejected the Fact Finder’s recommendations pertaining to support staff contract negotiations with a vote of 7 to 1 with 1 abstention at a public Board meeting on Wednesday, December 4, 2019.

 

The Fact Finder’s failure to reasonably and responsibly address the issue of contracting out student transportation services left the majority of the School Board with no alternative but to reject the Fact Finder’s report in its entirety. 

 

The Fact Finder chose to fault the School Board for reducing property taxes by 12 mills and not raising taxes over the past nine years for property owners rather than addressing the efficiencies and savings that could be achieved by Pocono Mountain School District through contracting out student transportation services.  This critical misdirection of the issue renders the Fact Finder’s recommendation against outsourcing fundamentally flawed.

 

Nothing in the Fact Finder’s report addressed the elemental responsibility of a School Board to provide for a thorough and “efficient” school system.  Instead, the Fact Finder disregards the gains to the District through contracting out student transportation services, estimated to be up to $37 million in savings over 7 years, as insignificant.

 

The Fact Finder gave no serious consideration to the tax burden of property owners in Pocono Mountain School District or the dramatic changes to District property values since the 2008 financial crisis.  The Fact Finder’s report made no mention of the financially prudent and very difficult measures – which included the closing of five community schools and furloughing of more than 100 teachers and support staff members – the Board took to close a $23 million budget deficit in 2011.  The report also failed to acknowledge the Board’s efforts to right size the District and stabilize the District’s finances by restructuring its debt, changing third party health insurance providers and selling closed school properties.  Those  measures along with other cost savings initiatives allowed the District to avoid a state takeover of its operations, reverse its plummeting bond rating and restore the District’s fund balance, all while continuing to provide a high-quality education for all students.

 

Link to PMSD Press Release & Additional Information Regarding Fact Finding

 

Link to Fact Finder's Report

 

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