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
Detailed information about each referendum
exception submitted to the Department and related submission procedures are
contained in the following document.
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 e-mailed to PDE at ra-RES@pa.gov.
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
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
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.
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).
Report on Referendum Exceptions
Section 333(j)(6) of the Taxpayer Relief Act requires the
Pennsylvania Department of Education to prepare a report each year that
describes the results of referendum exception submissions by school
The files below contain reports prepared by the Department and
provided to the following members of the General Assembly, as mandated by SS Act
1: the President pro tempore of the Senate, the Minority Leader of the Senate,
the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Minority Leader of the
House of Representatives.