This letter to the editor was submitted to LebTown in response to state Rep. Frank Ryan’s Aug. 23 column on school budgets and the way ahead. Read our submission policy here.

It’s refreshing to see a politician step forward and take ownership of a problem they personally have a hand in creating.

As Frank correctly notes, the financial burden that he and the rest of the PSERS board vote to pass on to the Palmyra school district, “is reflected in your property taxes each year and currently represents 34.94% of payroll.”

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For some perspective, just 10 years ago in the ’11-‘12 budget, the contribution was only 8.65%. Why such a drastic increase in 10 years? Gross mismanagement, anemic returns and potential fraud have led the FBI to engage a grand jury to determine why PSERS is struggling to meet the promise made to PA’s retired teachers.

With the fund unable to support itself with more modest contributions from school districts, Frank knows that the PSERS board can and will simply push that substantial financial burden on to local school districts. He admits that the Palmyra school district has no choice but to pass that on to taxpayers. On Dec. 3, 2020, as the PSERS board voted to once again increase school district contributions to 34.94%, Frank could have voted NO to support Palmyra property taxpayers and he didn’t.  

While Frank Ryan embarks on another years long quest to eliminate school property taxes, Palmyra taxpayers demand immediate and impactful changes to both the Basic Education Funding and cyber charter tuition formulas. These broken models cost Palmyra over $1 million a year in state funding. Frank knows that due to his direct action at PSERS, and his inaction in fixing funding formulas, that $1 million is directly passed on to taxpayers in the Palmyra school district year after year. So when you see him and others “Oppose tax increases” in Palmyra you know it is Politician Frank you’re hearing from because CPA Frank knows better.

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Dave Laudermilch is a Palmyra resident.

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