Nazareth Area School District Facts

  1. NASD plans to increase spending from a 2016-17 budget of $81,211,722 to $84,791,321 in 2017-18, a 4.41% increase. The projected spend for 2022 is $100.0 million, an 18% increase over the current budget.
  2. The all-in budgeted spend per student will go from $17,334/year in 2016-17 to $17,850/year in 2017-18. (4685 total students in 2016-17, estimated 4750 in 2017-18) For comparison, the average K-12 tuition costs of attending a well-known local private school, Moravian Academy, is $24,000/year. (source)
  3. Of the projected 4750 students, it is estimated 42 students will be homeschooled, 54 will go to charter schools, and 92 will attend cyber school. While cyber and charter students still have tax money spent on them, if you remove the homeschoolers from the total, the average annual all-in cost per student rises to $18,010/year.
  4. $6,614,559 will be spent in 2017-18 just to service existing debt. This means the all-in spend per non-homeschooled student of $18,010/year from above includes $1,405/year just to service the existing debt.
  5. The current Board voted 8-1 to raise taxes by:
    1. “a real estate transfer tax of one percent (1%); (The District share is 0.50%)
    2. a seven-tenths percent (0.7%) tax on earned income under authority given by the Local Tax Enabling Act of 1965, Act 511; (This is the District share only. The tax amount for the municipalities varies.)
    3. and a school tax on real estate levied and assessed at a rate of 53.268 mills on the dollar on the total amount of the assessed valuation of all property taxable for school purposes within the Nazareth Area School District.”
  6. The school property millage rate was increased by 1.238 mills, or 2.38% over the preceding year. (1 mill = a $1 tax per $1,000 of property value as assessed by Northampton County).
  7. On June 30, 2016, from the most recent audit, the Total Net Position of the Nazareth Area School District was NEGATIVE $51,350,286. This means that the school district’s total liabilities, predominantly pension liability and bond debt, is $51.35 million dollars MORE than the school districts total assets, predominantly its’ buildings, cash, and land. (see pages 15, 23, 26). The year prior, on June 30, 2015, the Total Net Position of the school district was NEGATIVE $51.7 million. (page 15)
  8. From June 30, 2015, to June 30, 2016, the school district spent $80.3 million on a cash-basis. 66% was spent on ‘Instruction’ and ‘Instructional Student Support.’ 9% was spent on administration, 10% on operation of the facilities, 5% on ‘pupil transportation,’ 3.3% on ‘interest on long-term debt,’ 2.5% on ‘food services’, and the remainder on ‘student activities,’ ‘community services,’ and ‘unallocated depreciation expense.’ (pages 17-18)
  9. $79,950,000 was the total outstanding bond principal (long-term debt) of the school district as of June 30, 2016. (page 21)
  10. Alarmingly, Net Pension Liability grew by $12.1 million or 12.3% from $98.0 to $110.1 million from June 30, 2015 to June 30, 2016. (page 59).
  11. The district’s payments to the teachers’ pension fund, PSERS (Public School Employees’ Retirement System), has nearly grown 6X over the past decade through 2016, with most of the skyrocketing growth since 2011. (page 86)
    • Contractually Required Contribution ($), then as a percentage of covered employee payroll
    • 2015-16: $8,597,260, 25.00%
    • 2014-15: $6,936,003, 20.50%
    • 2013-14: $5,054,899, 16.00%
    • 2012-13: $3,482,875, 11.50%
    • 2011-12: $2,374,754, 8.00%
    • 2010-11: $1,482,098, 5.00%
    • 2009-10: $1,143,167, 4.00%
    • 2008-09: $988,008, 4.00%
    • 2007-09: $1,517,971, 6.44%
    • 2006-07: $1,436,533, 5.72%
  12. As recently as the September 18, 2017 board meeting, the board is considering increasing the school district’s debt by $5 to $15 million, although the minutes only refer to a presentation by RBC (Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets).

Source for #1-#6: Superintendent’s 2017-2018 Budget Link

Source for #7-#11: “Report on Nazareth Area School District Single Audit Report Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2016” by Gorman and Associates, CPC

Originally published October 2017.