State Revises Property Tax Reduction Allocations Due to COVID-19
Another effect of the current COVID-19 pandemic on school districts and their taxpayers is occurring in the form of revised property tax reduction allocations.
The state has revised the amount of funding it forecasts as available for allocations to school districts, to be used for property tax reduction under Act 1 of 2006. Funding for these property tax reductions in the form of homestead or farmstead exclusions is dependent on revenues from gambling operations in Pennsylvania. However, like most businesses and industries, gaming revenue is down significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s revised forecast now estimates that $269.5 million in state funding will be available for statewide property tax relief – a 55% reduction from last year.
The revised property tax reduction certification means that less state funding will be provided to school districts to provide the normal or expected reduction on property tax bills for each homestead and farmstead property in the district. Recognizing that this is entirely a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, PSBA is working to make legislators aware of this issue and looking for possible solutions to address this problem.
As this may be something school leadership decides at the local level to address with their community, we are providing basic templated language to help you with these conversations or communications.
Coronavirus Preparedness Guidance
In the last few weeks, the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which causes the respiratory illness COVID-19, has become a topic of concern nationwide. Being proactive is key to prevention and mitigation.
Below, you will find a list of resources on all aspects of preparedness, including guidance on communication planning, policy, emergency management and disease control. Use these resources to help you make decisions regarding the safety and health of those in your school district.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for Schools: Webinar Series
PSBA hosted six virtual sessions with presentations by an expert on critical and timely topics; communication practices during the coronavirus pandemic; the business of boards during shutdown; facilities restoration and clean-up, and other essential topics. Members have access to the recorded sessions via myPSBA.org.
I. PSBA Coronavirus Updates
- 8/5/20 — PSBA testimony to the House Education Committee on legislative support needed for public schools during the pandemic
- 6/17/20 – PSBA testimony to the House Education Committee on school reopening in fall 2020
- 5/11/20 – PSBA testimony to the Senate Education Committee on continuity of education
- 5/5/20 – PSBA letter to the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation seeking funding and flexibility for schools
- 4/21/20 – A Video Message from CEO Nathan Mains
- 4/21/20 – Read the complete Conference and spring events announcement from CEO Nathan Mains
- 4/16/20 – PSBA letter to Governor Wolf to expedite GEER Fund Grants to school districts
- 4/7/20 – PASBO, PSBA, PSEA Joint Letter in Opposition to School Property Tax Freeze
- 4/3/20 – PSBA update from the Pennsylvania Board of Finance and Revenue
- 4/3/20 – The complex equation of earnings and compensation unemployment
- 4/1/20 – E-Rate Schools Report from the Center for Public Education, NSBA, and PSBA
- 3/18/20 – Joint letter to legislators: PSBA and other education partners call for statewide policy
- 3/16/20 – Communications Update – Submit your questions on school operations & coronavirus
PSBA Crisis Communications, a member benefit supported by The Donovan Group is available 24/7 at no cost to PSBA member districts, for guidance on how to communicate with communities, families and the media. Communication templates available here.
III. FAQ Updates
- 4/2/20 – Act 13 FAQ's
- 4/1/20 – Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19
- 3/24/20 – Considerations for School Boards Contemplating Furloughs of Non-Teaching Staff
- 3/20/20 – FAQ’s – From PSBA Regarding School Closures
IV. Finance & Funding
- Applications for the COVID-19 School Health and Safety Grants are now open! The deadline to submit applications is June 30; awards will be made by July 15. Grants received must be used by October 30, 2020. https://www.pccd.pa.gov/schoolsafety/Pages/default.aspx
- 4/23/20 – Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
- 4/1/20 – Casey Releases Community Breakdown of New Coronavirus Funding for PA
- Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant
V. Legal & Policy Insights
- 5/21/20 – Policy 824 Maintaining Professional Adult/Student Boundaries – Considerations for a Digital Learning Environment
- 4/8/20 – Policy Update: PSBA Guidance on Remote School Board Meetings
- 3/21/20 – ED – Supplemental Fact Sheet Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Preschool, Elementary and Secondary Schools While Serving Children with Disabilities
- 3/17/20 – U.S. Department of Education Releases Webinar, Fact Sheet for Protecting Students' Civil Rights During COVID-19 Response
- E-rate list for school and community free or low-cost Internet connectivity resources
- NSBA COVID Preparing For Widespread Illness in Your School Community, A Legal Guide for School Leaders
- What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and COVID-19
- Department of Labor – Employee Rights: Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- Policy 805 Emergency Preparedness and Response
The Board is responsible to provide facilities, equipment and training necessary to protect against hazards and emergencies, including but not limited to natural disasters, hazardous chemicals, fires, weapons, bomb threats, intruders, terrorism, communicable diseases and pandemics. Advance planning, training, practice and comprehensive implementation are key components in protecting the safety and security of the school community. Each school entity should have an emergency preparedness plan in place that was developed in cooperation with the county Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). The emergency preparedness plan should include provisions for the continuity of student learning during school closings or excessive absences.
VI. News Updates
From the Office of the Governor
- 4/9/20 – Governor Wolf Extends School Closure for Remainder of Academic Year
- 3/31/20 – Gov. Wolf, Sec. of Health Extend Stay-at-Home Orders to Seven Additional Counties, 33 Counties Now Ordered to Stay Home
- 3/31/20 – Life Sustaining Business update from the Governor
- 3/30/20 – Gov. Wolf and Sec. of Health Expand ‘Stay at Home’ Order to Carbon, Cumberland, Dauphin and Schuylkill Counties, Extend School Closures Indefinitely
- 3/27/20 – Special Update: School Construction Projects
- 3/27/20 – Gov. Wolf Signs COVID-19 Response Bills to Bolster Health Care System, Workers, and Education and Reschedule the Primary Election
Pennsylvania Department of Education
- 7/21/20 – Letter to Superintendents from AG Josh Shapiro
- 7/14/20 – Emergency Instructional Time Template
- 7/8/20 – PDE issues updated guidance for calculation of CARES Act funds to private schools
- Instructional Days/Hours During the 2020-2021 School Year | Implications Related to COVID-19
- 7/6/20 – Roadmap for Education Leaders Cover Letter
Roadmap for Education Leaders – Creating Equitable School Systems
- 7/1/20 – Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings
- 4/22/20 – PDE Evaluations & Virtual Assessment Guidance
- 4/9/2020 – Act 13 Order
- 3/31/2020 – Continuity of Education Resources from the Pennsylvania Department of Education
- 3/19/2020 – Pennsylvania Department of Education Cancels Statewide Assessments
- 3/15/2020 – Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) COVID-19 Resources
Pennsylvania Department of Health
- 3/27/20 – PA Department of Health – Breakdown of Age and County Case Counts
- Coronavirus Information for Education from the Pennsylvania Department of Health
Other Educational Entities
- 6/26/20 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) releases strategies for safer buildings and offers science-backed public health solutions in the reopening of public buildings. For the full report on school reopening strategies: Reopening America: Strategies for Safer Schools.
- 4/9/2020 – PIAA – Winter Championships & Spring Sports Cancelled
- Disaster Preparedness and Response – Child Welfare Information Gateway
VII. Disease Management
- 3/24/20 – The Education Trust – Child Hunger and the Coronavirus Pandemic
- 3/20/20 – NAMI – Coronavirus: Mental Health Coping Strategies
- Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 Testing Fact Sheet
- What is Coronavirus from the Pennsylvania Department of Health
- About Coronavirus Disease (COVID – 19) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- From the World Health Organization
- More information and resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Mental Health America – Mental Health Effects of COVID-19
- Map of Coronavirus and School Closures from Education Week
- CDC – Caring for Children – Tips to keep children healthy while school’s out
- Continuity of Operations from PEMA
- Pandemic Response from PEMA
- Resources from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Institute for Research on Poverty – Poverty & COVID-19
- CDC – How are quarantine and isolation different?
VIII. Planning Checklists
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – School District (K-12) Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist
- Center for Disease Control (CDC) – Pandemic Flu Checklist: K-12 School Administrators
IX. Additional Questions?
Please use the form below to submit any additional questions about coronavirus preparedness.