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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=25429
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 16, 2018 12:39 PM
From: Representative Mark Mustio
To: All House members
Subject: SCHOOL SAFETY & MENTAL HEALTH ACT 1 EXCEPTIONS
 
In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation which will help schools provide additional resources for mental health services and school safety.

Due to the recent, tragic school shooting that took place at Parkland High School, conversations concerning the protection of our school children and the prevention of future senseless violence have increased. Recommendations from our public schools and educators have often focused on enhanced school safety and the mental health of our students. In fact, mental health and security services are fast growing components of our ever-evolving education system. Unfortunately, many of schools lack the resources to effectively address these needs.

Currently, school district budgets are developed by school board officials and constrained by Act 1, the Property Tax Relief Act. The Act 1 Index is the state's measure for determining property tax increases justified by wage inflation. Each district's index is calculated separately for each fiscal year, and consists of two parts: the base index, and the district adjustment. If a school wishes to pass a budget that increased revenues beyond the allowable Act 1 index, they are required to seek voter approval through a referendum of a rate increase greater than the Act 1 index. There are three notable exceptions to the referendum requirement:
  • Local share of existing debt, or a portion of the local share of new debt;
  • Increases in the local share of special education costs;
  • Increases in those pension costs attributable to increases in the required employer contribution rate. The increase in pension costs attributable to increases in salaries does not qualify a district for an exception.
My legislation will add mental health services and school safety to the list of allowable exceptions that a school board may utilize to address the financial needs of their district.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this import legislation.