Mixed Reaction to Scranton School Tax Hike

SCRANTON, Pa. -- There could be more bad news for taxpayers in the city of Scranton for 2020. At Wednesday night's school board meeting, members voted on a proposed budget that's set to raise property taxes again.

The financial problems in the Scranton School District have been no secret, and now taxpayers will pay more because of it.

The school board approved a proposed budget that includes a 3.4 percent tax increase next year, but even with the tax hike, there's still a $2.7 million deficit.

"3.4 is still a hardship. It is still another burden on the backs of the taxpayers in this city, but at least it is a more reasonable number," said Scranton School Board director Katie Gilmartin.

Board members know that raising property taxes is an unfavorable decision, but a necessary one, and they hope that keeping the number lower will help those that have a harder time paying their taxes.

"I am certainly pleased that we did not have to get to 6.7. We weren't even granted the exception to get to that point. I really hope that we have an opportunity to understand how those dollars serve our students and really understand why a little bit of a hardship now might stave off a worse hardship in the future," Gilmartin said.

Llewellyn Miller is a former educator and thinks the school district's decision is the right one.

"I think if it benefits the schools and gives our students a better chance at keeping the programs that are vitally important, such as music and arts and extracurriculars such as speech and debate. I think it's extremely important, and I'm willing to pay a little bit more," Miller said.

Antonios Kalyvas owns the Boulevard Diner and has property in Scranton, and isn't pleased with the hike.

"When you own properties, and you pay a lot of taxes already, the 3 percent is a lot of money. If you pay $1,000, OK, it's nothing, but when you pay $15,000 or $20,000 a year, the 3 percent is 3 percent. If they go up for four years, you can't afford it," said Kalyvas.

The school board will vote to approve the final budget sometime in December.


  • savescrantonhistory

    I wouldn’t call ANY of those programs that the former educator in this story called vitally important as such. Then again some consider sports programs the same and I REALLY don’t feel those are vital or important except to those partaking in them.

    If anything they should cut the ESL teachers since their program only benefits a small segment of the community. Not only that but I would cut salaries and duplication. You don’t “need” smaller class sizes. That just ends up requiring twice the teachers. I went through this district in the 80’s and 90’s and came out of it just fine in class sizes of 30 or so students. But as long as the taxpayers keep quiet they’ll keep raising the taxes. Get to the meetings and let these people know you will NOT be priced out of your homes you worked so hard to buy and maintain.

    • Marc Gratkowski

      They rightfully complain about the high taxes, which have killed Scranton economically, and yet they keep right on voting for the Democrats.

  • lamestream r

    Holy Cow, mixed reaction! Anyone willing to accept more tax increases, are either out of their mind or they just love paying taxes! While your at it, take our burden of the tax, since it appears you are rich! Seems like the Democratic way these days!

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