Wagner: State Needs to Question Massive School Reserves

HARRISBURG – Senator Scott Wagner (R-York), citing comments by the Auditor General, is calling on changes to the way the state provides additional revenue to school districts sitting on massive reserve funds.

“Taxpayers are asked to part with more and more of their hard-earned money, while several school districts sit on reserve funds totaling $4.4 billion,” Wagner said. “Auditor General DePasquale said anything above 20 percent is ‘where you start to question it.’ On behalf of taxpayers who are already overburdened, I’m going to question it.”

Wagner offered an amendment during tonight’s Senate Appropriations Committee meeting to draw accountability to school districts sitting on unassigned reserves in excess of 20 percent of their overall budget.

Wagner’s amendment would limit the amount school districts with unassigned fund balances in excess of 20 percent would receive from the additional $100 million in basic education funding appropriated in the state budget. The amendment would also put districts on notice for 2019-20 by requiring the Department of Education to withhold the difference in subsidies provided by the state to school districts and the unassigned reserve amount in excess of 20 percent of their overall budget.

“Taxpayers have told me time and time again they cannot afford any new tax increases. My amendment would draw more accountability for how their hard-earned tax dollars are handled,” he said.