We don't think for a second it's easy for school districts to craft their budgets.
Balancing the needs of students with taxpayers' ability to pay -- in the face of stagnant, at best, state funding -- is sure to entail many difficult decisions.
In the past, however, some districts seemed more inclined to forego the hard work, like making budget cuts, in favor of the old stand-by: property tax hikes.
Many districts raised taxes right to their state-assigned tax limits, which are tied to inflation rates, and more than a few sought exceptions to raise taxes even higher.
Districts also have had the option of seeking voter approval to go over their tax caps, but that rarely happens around the state and has never happened in York County since Act 1 was implemented in 2006.
The exception was just one reason the property tax "reform" legislation proved to be less than was promised.
What's the motivation for districts to tighten their belts and live within their means when that tempting tax hike is just an exception way?
It was important to remove the temptation -- or most of it -- and that's what legislation sponsored by state Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover, did.
Passed into law this summer, it greatly narrows the number and scope of exceptions districts can use to raise taxes above their assigned caps, which range from 1.7 percent in West Shore to 2.7 percent in York City for the 2012-13 school year.
Now the list of possible exceptions is down from 10 to three: special-education costs, pension costs and grandfathered debt service. And even then, there are stricter limits on when a district can be granted one of those exceptions.
That means a district that wants to go above the cap is more likely to need voter approval, which was the intent of Act 1 in the first place.
Already, five York County districts have decided to apply for exceptions, although that doesn't mean they have to use them.
Or will even get them, given the new restrictions.
A better idea, one in keeping with the spirit of Act 1, would be for these districts to do the hard work, turn over every stone and cut where they can.
If they're still short, they should do it again. And again.
If, after all that, these districts still want to raise taxes higher than their caps, they should take their cases to the voters.
Then the taxpayers can decide in the April primary if an exception is necessary.