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Referendum Exceptions  
Taxpayer Relief Act 
 
 
 
A school district that adopts a preliminary budget with real estate taxes that exceed its index may seek approval for referendum exceptions to increase tax rates by more than its adjusted index.  Section 333 of the Taxpayer Relief Act, as amended by Act 25 of 2011, provides for four exceptions that require approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (Department).
 
Detailed information about each referendum exception submitted to the Department and related submission procedures are contained in the following document.
  • Referendum Exception Guidelines for 2015-2016 (PDF)  Coming soon
  
School districts requesting referendum exceptions from the Department are required to submit exceptions via the online Referendum Exception System (RES).  The following documents contain instructions on accessing and using RES.

 

The Summary of Referendum Exceptions document, generated from within RES, must be signed by the superintendent and the original mailed to the following address:
Pennsylvania Department of Education
Bureau of Budget and Fiscal Management
Division of Subsidy Data and Administration
333 Market Street, 4th Floor
Harrisburg, PA  17126-0333
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The four (4) files below are Microsoft Excel versions of the referendum exceptions that require PDE approval.  These files are blank templates that require necessary data to be entered to properly perform calculations.
 
These files may be used to estimate the value of referendum exceptions.  These calculations are considered estimates and may not match the official calculations performed by the RES application.
 
 
      School Construction, Form A - Grandfathered Debt
      School Construction, Form B - Electoral Debt
      Special Education Expenditures  Coming soon
      Retirement Contributions  Coming soon
 
 
 
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If one or more referendum exceptions are approved by PDE, a school district may increase the rate of a tax levied for the support of public schools by more than its index without seeking voter approval.
 
PDE shall approve the referendum exception request if a review of the data demonstrates that the school district qualifies for one or more of the exceptions.  If the request for an exception is approved, PDE shall determine the dollar amount of the expenditure for which the exception is sought and the tax rate increase required to fund the exception.  If PDE denies the request, the school district must (1) reduce the tax rate increase to no more than its index or (2) submit a referendum question for voter approval in the next primary election (for school districts with a July 1 through June 30 fiscal year).
 
 
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For additional information, please contact:

Jonathan Hollenbach, Benjamin Hanft | Division of Subsidy Data and Administration
Pennsylvania Department of Education - Bureau of Budget and Fiscal Management
333 Market Street | Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717.787.5423 | Fax: 717.772.4106
ra-res@pa.gov | www.education.state.pa.us