Taxes top topic at Lower Merion school board meeting

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It's a sore subject for many residents of Lower Merion Township. (WPVI)

It's a sore subject for many residents of Lower Merion Township.

A judge has ruled the school district has been using "fuzzy math" to come up with its budgets and is trying to overcharge them.

On Monday night, the taxing issue came before the school board.

The meeting never got loud or argumentative. But it was tense all the way through.

There was a clear divide between supporters of the school and those who say the district is not to be trusted when it comes to its finances.

"It said basically someone who goes to public school does not have the right to expect a private school education. That astonishes me because I always thought the dream of America since Brown versus Board of Education was that the goal of every American was to have the opportunity to get the very best education possible," parent William Coleman said.

It was apparent early on in the meeting that not everyone was on board with a ruling that found that the Lower Merion School District repeatedly lied about budget deficits of nearly $8-million when in fact it had more than $50-million in the bank.

"It didn't address that the judge found that the school district purposely and intentionally and repeatedly for ten years said there were deficits in their budgets when there really were surpluses," parent Liz Havey said.

Superintendent Robert Coleman says the surplus is mostly do to good budgeting and to protect the district in the long run.

He says in part: "In the case of a school district, a decreasing fund balance reduces the district's ability to generate investment income, pay for costs such as emergency building repairs, or cover unexpected interruptions in revenue such as last year's 9-month state budget impasse."

The district repeatedly argued that it saw a 40-percent increase in enrollment in the last 20 years.
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educationpa. newstaxesLower Merion Township
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