Local ballot measures, Pennsylvania

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School bond and tax votes

See also: School bond and tax elections in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania requires a bond election in order to exceed the property tax ceiling or issue new bonding. There are two major laws governing school finance in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Special Session Act of 2006 covers the property tax ceiling. School districts are required to have a referendum if borrowing exceeds a certain index. Set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, this index is updated every year. However, there are causes, including court orders and emergencies, that exempt districts from the law. Also, the cities of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Scranton are exempt from the 2006 law.

The Pennsylvania Local Government Unit Debt Act of 1996 covers all bond issues in the State of Pennsylvania. Both laws differ on the required notice for a election and the mandatory period between the approval of a resolution by a school district and the election. Under the 1996 act, there is a mandatory cooling-off period of 155 days for re-issuing a bond question. The Special Session Act of 2006, however, does not mandate a cooling-off period before re-issuing ballot questions on the property tax ceiling.

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