Over this process, we have talked about the $6.1 Million annual debt service as being a major factor in why we are facing a 37.5 mill tax rate, and not a rate less than 30 mills. There was a 2003 feasibility report, which is repeatedly referenced to defend the debt and building of the large Octorara campus. That feasibility report stated the district would add 500 new students over 10 years, and is now 10 years old.
By 2006, the district had created the Octorara Regional Planning Commission because projections were falling short.
Throughout the process, taxpayers were worried about the dramatic increases in taxes, as well as the size and scope to the building initiative.
As the economy started to decline in late 2006, and then collapsed in 2008, the district continued with their vision.
We can now see, enrollment has not only fallen short of expected growth, it began to recede, and is expected to continue to fall. The PA Department of Education has historic enrollment, on their site, going back to 04-05.
- 2004-05: 2,650
- 2005-06: 2,581
- 2006-07: 2,660
- 2007-08: 2,657
- 2008-09: 2,714
- 2009-10: 2,616
- 2010-11: 2,581
- 2011-12: 2,583
- 2020-21: 2,459 (Dept of Ed projection)
The numbers never materialized from the feasibility report, with only annual fluctuations, up and down, over the period. Is it finally time the district admits the campus, with 3 elementary schools, was too much, too fast?
Is it time to consider a consolidation plan to save tax payers money, and generate revenue from the unused space to help pay off the debt?
- PA Department of Education Historical Public School Enrollment Reports
- PA Department of Education Enrollment Projections