How do you cut a budget anyway?

Make sure you have something left after the cut

Not to worry — I am not on the bandwagon to abandon cuts– but I am in the corner of those who need to understand just exactly what our school system costs us — and to make sure that cutting doesn’t end up with the proverbial “throw out the baby with the bathwater” issue. 

I have now uploaded the CLR data on the companion website to this blog schoolspending.info  Here’s the summary but go there if you want to see the data that generates it.
The cost of a house includes the mortgage, taxes and insurance.  Well, I’ll let the market declare the mortgage and insurance — and presume that you do your research on those two independent of school districts.  The taxes, however, are something that the buyer can consider.  To be able to consider a district’s relative costs, here is the MODEL:
The house sells for $500,000.   I don’t care where you buy it — but based on your own savings and income, you have a mortgage you can afford.  Now — given the CLR for PA counties, set annually by the State Tax Equalization Board (this takes type of property, sales, location, etc into the mix to create a single percentage of 100 that represents the percent of fair market value that equals your assessment.) 
Given the CLR (see previous posting), this $500,000 house would assess as follows:
54.0  Montgomery County   $270,000
53.0  Chester County  $265,000
61.3  Delaware County $306,500
9.7   Bucks County $48,500
 
Using the property tax millage for school districts with these assessed values on our $500,000 purchase house, your property-based school taxes would be as follows:
T-E  $4,629.55
Great Valley  $4,828.30
Radnor  $5,979.82
Lower Merion  $5,786.24
West Chester  $4,730.25 plus .5 earned income tax
Unionville- CF  $6,248.70
Central Bucks  $5,567.80 plus .5 earned income tax
Council Rock  $5,236.06 plus .5 earned income tax
Upper Merion  $4,114.80
So — homeowners — this is how people decide to move here.  What to you think influences the choice? 
Here’s a site designed for real estate searches — but it rates school districts.  http://www.schooldigger.com/ 
Before we “cut” a budget, let’s be sure we know what we want, what we are willing to pay for, and what we are expecting to charge when we sell our homes.  The School Board has voted to limit next year’s budget to Act 1 limits — which means it can only go up a maximum of 2.9%.  That will mean cuts — maybe some big ones.  I think we need to watch the process and understand the decisions.  Questions?  Feel free to ask. 
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