Springfield Schools looks for needed income tax

Carolynn Mostyn
Suburbanite correspondent
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SPRINGFIELD TWP. – After voters of the Springfield Local School District defeated a 7.7-mill operating levy both in August and November of 2020, the Board of Education had to come up with a different plan to bring in needed funds.

That plan, instead of a levy, is to place a 0.75-percent school income tax levy of 0.75 percent on the May 4 ballot.

If passed, the 0.75 percent school income tax would result in a tax of $7.50 per $1,000 in income. Those on social security benefits; disability and survivor benefits; railroad retirement benefits; welfare benefits; child support; property received as a gift, bequest, or inheritance; and workers’ compensation benefits would not be taxed. Senior citizens 65 years and older would receive a $50 income tax credit.

For example, a resident making $30,000 per year in taxable income would pay $225 per year in school income tax. If that resident is a senior citizen and the income is from a source other than Social Security, their tax due would be $175 after taking the $50 tax credit into consideration. Another example, if a senior citizen received $15,000 per year in pension income and $10,000 per year in Social Security income, they would pay only $62.50 per year in school income tax after the $50 tax credit is applied as there is no tax on the Social Security income. 

The district has not had new operating money in more than 20 years and as costs have increased the future budget shows a deficit. That has resulting in pay to participate for sports and other activities, the closure of Young Elementary School, reduction in staff and in much needed programs for students.

The defeated property tax levy would have resulted in $3 million additional dollars for  the district beginning in the fiscal year 2021. Those dollars would have offset the deficits in the budget and helped to have a cash reserve for the district.

At this time, additional staff cuts are planned if the tax increase is defeated. Consolidation efforts would be crucial by the district to further reduce costs. Due to the one-time influx of federal funding for COVID relief efforts (termed the “Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund” or ESSR), many of the most drastic reductions, such as those to music, foreign language, art, career technical, physical education, technology, middle school sports and other much needed programs will be temporarily averted. However, without an additional and consistent source of funding, which the school income tax would provide, those programs will again be in jeopardy in future years.

“I believe this is a great way for senior citizens and retirees to support the children of this district and to provide them with the quality of education they deserve, likely at a much lower cost than the average retiree would pay if an equivalent property tax were to pass," said Board of Education member Neal Hess. "It is important that we all contribute to the survival and future success of this school district.”

 The financial update is available on the district website www.springfieldspartans.org.