West Chester Area School District School Board Approves Final Budget for 2022-23 School Year
West Chester, PA – The West Chester Area School District (WCASD) School Board of Directors passed a final budget for the 2022-23 school year of $296,971,916, approximately $17.5 million increase over the current budget (6.3 percent). Included in this increase is a planned contribution of $5.0 million to the District Capital Fund to fund the increased construction costs associated with the Glen Acres renovation project as well as $500,000 for technology and distance learning initiatives. Other increases include more than $3.3 million directly related to the following state and federal mandates:
- $2.2 million increase in state-mandated pension expenses, a 5.9 percent increase over the current year's budget.
- $1.1 million increase in charter school tuitions, a 12 percent increase over the current year.
The budget includes a 1.7 percent tax increase for Chester County property owners (about $70 per average household) and a 4.4 percent increase for Delaware County property owners (about $208 per average household). The property tax millage rates for West Chester remain one of the lowest in Chester County. The District utilized savings from the 2021-22 operations to help offset the millage increases needed for the 2022-23 budget. The District's undesignated fund balance is approximately $19.1 million.
To remain competitive in the current job market and attract talented, passionate educators and staff to the District, the 2022-23 budget reflects an investment in the new teacher’s contract that was settled in September of 2021. Salaries and benefits for the District's 1,507 employees is largest component of the budget, which rose $6.6 million (4.7 percent increase). The 2022-23 budget includes the addition of new staff in three key areas:
- Pupil Services:
- 3 special education teachers
- 1 Pupil Services Supervisor
- 1 Behavioral Specialist Coordinator
- Curriculum and Instruction:
- 1 K-12 ELA Supervisor
- 1 Language Art Supervisor
- Four (4) reading specialist K-12
- 1 Instructional Technology Coordinator
- Technology Support Services:
- 2 Coordinators of Technical Services
"This budget includes additional supports for completing the renovations at Glen Acres Elementary School. Through the personal additions and investment in our faculty and staff, the District’s budget demonstrates our continued commitment to enhancing the educational opportunities and experiences of our students as they work to achieve their personal best,” said Superintendent Bob Sokolowski.
The District has included $500,000 for mental health therapists contracted through the CCIU to offer additional support for our students and we are projecting a $740,000 increase in this year's budget, which covers books, supplies, utilities, debt service, and other operating expenses.
"The board worked collaboratively with the administration to establish priorities and ensure a successful path forward for our District,” said school board president Sue Tiernan. “Our goal, which I believe this budget accomplishes, is to effectively balance the needs of our tax paying community while also addressing the needs of our students and families.”
2022-23 District Tax Rates
Based on the final budget, the real estate tax rate for Chester County will increase by .37 mills to 22.43, an increase of 1.7 percent, the Delaware County tax rate will increase by .41 mills to 9.93, an increase of 4.4 percent over 2021-22. The average assessed home value in Chester County is now $189,850, which is approximately one-half of the home's market value. The average assessed home value in the Delaware County portion of the District is $502,336, which represents 100 percent of the market value. At the final rate, the average tax hike would be $70 per year for Chester County residents and $208 for Delaware County residents. The differences in county average assessments account for formula differences resulting in the differing tax rates.