Officials at two Montgomery County school districts are already breathing a little bit easier this fall, after legislation authored by Rep. Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery) was signed into law protecting funding from the state. Originally House Bill 1359, the law ensures Perkiomen Valley and Methacton school districts will receive payments in lieu of taxes for tax exempt state forest land that runs through both districts.
“Budgets across all levels of governments and school districts have been reduced in recent years, so it’s crucial we do all we can to get school districts the funding they deserve,” Toepel said.
Today, Gov. Tom Corbett ceremonially signed the legislation, now Act 61 of 2013. Joining Toepel at the signing was Lynn Bigelow, the vice president of the Perkiomen Valley School Board; and Reps. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery), Matthew Bradford (D-Montgomery), and Mark Painter (D-Montgomery).
Under the original law, Pennsylvania was only required to make payment in lieu of taxes if state-owned forest lands were leased at 90 percent or more of their fair market value for residential or commercial purposes, or consisted of 75 or more leased portions of land. As a result, Perkiomen Valley and Methacton were not receiving payments for land taken up by the Evansburg State Park. Toepel’s legislation lowered the leased portions of land from 75 to 30. The change in law will protect more than $3 million in funding over the next 10 years to the districts.