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Quakertown school board pledges a tax rate ceiling


Quakertown Community School Board agreed last week not to pursue any above average tax increases.

In a unanimous vote, board members agreed to stay at or below the Act 1 index of 2.7 percent and not seek exceptions. Those exceptions include increases to fund employee retirement and special education costs, which at $500,000, are half of what they were last year.

The move is in marked contrast to last fiscal year, when the board endorsed a 4.2 percent real estate tax increase in a bid to bridge a budget deficit and preserve a healthy fund balance, which currently stands at more than $15 million.

A district spokesman said the proposed tax increase could generate approximately $1.8 million in revenue but cautioned that all the numbers were not in yet.

The board is expected to vote on a preliminary budget in February and will adopt a final budget in June. If approved, the average property taxpayer would pay about $106 more, according to the spokesman.

In other business, board members, as expected, approved the sale of Tohickon Valley Elementary and Milford Middle schools to Faith Christian. The move nets the district approximately $2 million.

Henry Thompson, Faith’s director of finance, on Sunday cleared up some of Quakertown district’s confusion about how the school intends to utilize the two vacant buildings. Thompson said Milford Middle would serve middle and high school students while Tohickon Valley would be a pre K-5 building.

While there was concern Faith Christian could back out of the sale, paving the way for a possible purchase by a charter, one board member put out the panther welcome mat.

“Our kids spent about a dozen years with Faith Christian kids and others in non-public schools doing different sports and different events, and I couldn’t wish for a nicer bunch of new people coming into our district and helping make it better,” said director Jonathan Kern before the 7-2 vote.

The Sellersville school has until March 31 to finalize the purchase.