HARRISBURG – An audit of 12 school districts from across PA has uncovered a legal practice where districts are raising local property taxes while holding millions of dollars in their General Funds. PA Auditor General Timothy DeFoor said some startling trends appeared to auditors, like moving money around to make sure a district would always meet the threshold to raise taxes. The PA School Code and the Taxpayer Relief Act dictate how districts can raise taxes and sets limits for those increases. If a district must raise taxes above the limits set in law, they are required to ask voters for permission through referendum or apply to the PA Department of Education for a referendum exception, which allows districts to raise taxes above the inflationary index without voter input. The referendum exception applications are based on what a district has budgeted to cover expenses, versus actual cash on hand.  Hempfield, Penn Manor, and School District of Lancaster were three Lancaster County districts cited in the audit. The audit team made the recommendations to state lawmakers to help school districts fund education and protect taxpayers. You can read the full audit by clicking on Mr. DeFoor’s picture below.