If you live in Lancaster County and pay property taxes to Octoara Area School District, your tax bill increase this year was the third smallest increase in the County behind only Ephrata and Columbia Districts, who didn’t raise taxes at all.
In the face of $20 million less in state aid, declines in federal aid, stagnant local revenue and rising pension, health care and operating costs, districts have been wielding the cost-cutting ax. In all, more than 250 positions have been eliminated countywide through furloughs or attrition, and every district but one, Elanco, has dipped into its reserves to fill funding gaps. The county’s 17 school systems drained more than $16 million from their reserves to balance their budgets this year.
Read Lancaster Online’s assessment of Lancaster County’s 2011-12 school year tax increases here.