All York County school districts receive funding increases in state budget

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch
Gov. Tom Wolf speaks at an event in May in Mechanics­burg. Wolf is expected to sign the state budget package this week, after negotiations late last week.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed the state's 2021-22 budget Wednesday, approving massive funding increases for public education, including extra financial support for all York County school districts. 

All 16 county school districts received an increase in their Basic Education Funding allocation from the state compared with last year, with the increases ranging from $57,000 to $2.7 million. Almost all districts in Pennsylvania received an increase in Basic Education Funding, with only 11 districts in the state receiving less than the previous year. 

The state budget includes a $416 million increase in public education funding, with $100 million of that going to previously underfunded districts that have large populations of students of color, students living in poverty, students with disabilities or English language learners. 

The York City School District received $3.3 million of that $100 million, the fourth-highest allocation in the state behind the Philadelphia City School District, Reading School District and Allentown City School District. According to a report by Public School Review, 88% of York City's enrollment is made up of students of color, with a majority of them Hispanic students. 

All local school districts had to submit their 2021-22 budgets to the state by June 30. Officials from at least six York County school districts confirmed that the amount of Basic Education Funding allocated to their district is higher than what they budgeted for, but the impact that will have on local schools remains to be seen. 

More:York County school districts split on increasing taxes in upcoming budgets

More:First phase of $100M renovation project begins at Northeastern High School

Ten of the county's 16 school districts approved property tax hikes in their budgets — in some cases right up to the maximum allowed by the state. With the budgets now set, these tax increases are unlikely to change.

The Northeastern School District, which saw a $580,000 increase in Basic Education Funding, approved a 0.8% tax increase in its 2021-22 budget to pay for renovations that recently began at Northeastern High School. According to a previous York Dispatch report, the district is planning tax increases for the next eight years to pay for the renovations. 

Brian Geller, Northeastern's director of operations, said the increase in state funding will not change the budgeted tax increase but instead will support other district programs and operations that he did not specify. 

The Spring Grove Area School District, which saw a $454,000 increase in Basic Education Funding, approved a 1.8% tax increase in its 2021-22 budget. Director of Business Operations Mark Czapp said that will not change. Instead, he said, the additional funding will help replenish the district's fund balance, which was used to balance a large budget deficit.