In a letter to the editor, Pete Schempf compares the performance of the State College Area High School to North Allegheny High School, a suburban Pittsburgh school (“Comparing school districts,” Saturday).
Indeed, both are high-performing high schools that routinely score in the top 10 percent of the state on various indicators of scholastic achievement such as college entry scores, Advanced Placement course performance and National Merit Scholarship recognitions.
These statistics don’t tell the entire story.
Despite the greater age of State College Area’s buildings, capital investments have been less. North Allegheny School District’s debt is almost twice that of State College Area School District.
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The impacts to taxpayers? The most recent data available from the Census Bureau show that median home values in the SCASD and NASD are similar at $239,200 and $232,300, respectively. Applying current tax rates to both districts reveals that the median property tax in the SCASD is $2,633, versus $4,043 in the NASD.
And the State College Area’s proposed 1.95 percent tax increase for 2014-2015 looks nothing like North Allegheny’s proposed 9.5 percent hike.
There’s no question that State High needs major reconstruction. It’s time to reinvest in our future.
The district’s plan improves the educational experience for all children, costs less than most high school plans in Pennsylvania and doesn’t require the 54 percent property tax premium that Schempf seems to favor.
Jim Pawelczyk, State College
The writer is a member of the State College Area school board.