Pennsylvania Auditor General Claims Chesco School District Raised Property Taxes in Annual ‘Shell Game’

Pa. Auditor General Timothy DeFoor press conference
Image via The The Carlisle Sentinel at YouTube.
Pa. Auditor General Timothy DeFoor at his Jan. 25 press conference.

Pa. Auditor General Timothy DeFoor released a statewide school-district audit that uncovered a legal (but suspect) practice. The study revealed 12 districts statewide raising local property taxes while holding millions of dollars in their general funds.

DeFoor explained: “These districts have found a way to use the law to their advantage so they could always raise property taxes.

“It’s basically a ‘shell game’ … [in which they raised] taxes 37 times during the four years we reviewed [2018–2021], which increased their respective general fund accounts to $390 million.”

Chester County’s district was West Chester Area School District, which is also shared with Delaware County.

Meanwhile, three of the cited educating bodies are in Montgomery County: Abington School District, Lower Merion School District, and North Penn School District. One Bucks County district was noted: Neshaminy School District.

“Some startling trends began to appear to our auditors,” said DeFoor, “like moving money around to make sure a district would always meet the threshold to raise taxes.

“They also applied for a [tax-raising] referendum exception as a regular budgeting tool, rather than an extreme measure as the law intends.”

School district responses claimed that state fluctuations in education funding made the tax increases necessary.

The full press release on this issue is on the website of Auditor General Timothy DeFoor.


Here’s the press conference in which Pa. State Auditor General Timothy DeFoor announced
his office’s audit results regarding state school district funds and associated property tax increases.

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