West Chester Area School District School Board Approves Final Budget for 2023-24 School Year
The West Chester Area School District (WCASD) School Board of Directors passed a final budget for the 2023-24 school year of $302,294,995, approximately $5.3 million increase over the current budget (1.8 percent.). The largest component of the budget is the salaries and benefits for the District's 1,549 employees, which rose $6.9 million (4.7 percent increase). The 2023-24 budget includes the addition of $1.9 million in staffing costs in the following areas:
- Pupil Services:
- 3 Special Education Teachers
- 12 Behavior Specialists for our intensive autistic and emotional support K-12 classrooms
- 3 Behavior Specialists
- 1 school Nurse
- 1 Psychologist
- 3 Intervention Specialists at the Middle School Level
- 1 Community Engagement Specialist
- Secondary Education:
- 3 Instructional Coaches
- 3 Athletic Trainers
- 1 Electrician
- 1 Custodian
- 2 Technology Specialist
- 1 Human Resources Specialist
The increases in staffing costs are partially offset by reductions in services which were previously outsourced as contracted services.
“The 2023-24 budget reflects a strong commitment to providing enhanced resources and experiences for of all our students as they strive to achieve their personal best,” said WCASD Substitute Superintendent, Dr. Kalia Reynolds. “We know that investing in our staff, our learning spaces, and our community pays tremendous dividends in the success of our students now and in the long-run.”
Other increases include more than $1.5 million directly related to the following state and federal mandates:
- $850,000 million increase in state-mandated pension expenses, a 2.1 percent increase over the current year's budget.
- $700,000 in transportation expense, a 4.1 percent increase over the current year.
“Each year, we are tasked with balancing the best interests of all stakeholders while creating engaging and effective learning environments,” said school board president Sue Tiernan. “I am grateful for the collaborative process that this board and District administration have developed to ensure that responsibility is clearly understood and the strategic goals of the District are achieved.”
The District was able to balance the 2023-24 budget with no tax increase to Chester County property owners and a .1 percent increase for Delaware County property owners (about $5.00 per average household). The property tax millage rates for West Chester remains one of the lowest in Chester County. The District utilized savings from the 2022-23 operations to help offset the need for millage increases for the 2023-24 budget. The District's undesignated fund balance is approximately $19.7 million.
“We encourage our community to explore the budget documents, attend committee presentations, and ask questions at our monthly Property and Finance Committee Meetings,” said school board member and chair of the Property & Finance Committee, Mr. Gary Bevilacqua. “Greater awareness of District financial practices and decisions as well as cooperative discussions helps our community and the District to construct an effective budget aligned with community expectations and District growth.”
2023-24 District Tax Rates
Based on the final budget, the real estate tax rate for Chester County will remain at 22.43, a 0 percent increase, the Delaware County tax rate will increase by .01 mills to 9.94, an increase of .1 percent over 2022-23. 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, Chester County residents will see no increase in their taxes and Delaware County residents will see an average increase of $5.00. The differences in county average assessments account for formula differences resulting in the differing tax rates.