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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 10, 2020 04:07 PM
From: Senator Daylin Leach
To: All Senate members
Subject: COVID-19 Exception to Act 1 Restrictions on School Boards
Soon I will introduce legislation that will allow school districts to raise property taxes above the limits set by the Act 1 index, without a voter referendum, during the COVID-19 disaster emergency.

Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office projects a $5 billion shortfall in state revenue for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The interim spending plan enacted in May and June flat-funds basic education and special education for all of FY20-21. I was recently contacted by many school board members in my district who asked for the flexibility to raise additional revenues as they see fit to meet the needs of their communities during these trying and unpredictable times.

A state as diverse as Pennsylvania has communities with widely different needs. Those differences are even more apparent in light of the pandemic, which affected different parts of the state in vastly different ways. In light of such differences, I believe local school board members should have the power to do what they think is best for their communities. As you know, a school board member is elected by his/her local community and is perfectly capable of determining what his/her community needs. Certainly, they are better positioned to do so than a state elected official from the other side of the state. That is one of the strengths of local control.

My bill empowers school board members by removing one limit on their discretion during the duration of the proclamation of disaster emergency issued by the Governor on March 6, 2020. It does not force school board members to do anything.

Please join me in supporting this important legislation.

If you have questions about this legislation, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

View Attachment

Introduced as SB1209