Budget Update - At the March 20, 2017 School Board meeting, the Superintendent reported that the administration is working to reduce the millage increase from the March Base Budget which reflected a millage increase of .54 mills for the 2017-18 School Year.
As of that evening, budgets were reduced to recognize the lower cost of utilities due both to negotiated low rates as well as less usage due to moderate weather and smaller square footage in the newly renovated high school. While staffing is not yet complete, the administration recommends the elimination of two teaching positions due to retirements in areas where student count is down. With the Board's approval to refinance the 2009 Series A General Obligation Bonds for the High School Project, the millage increase is now projected to be .27 mills.
The Superintendent reported that the administration would continue to look for cost efficiencies in order to bring the millage increase down further as the presentation of a Proposed Budget in April draws near. A Final Budget is scheduled for Board action at the May 22, 2017 meeting.
At the March 13, 2017 School Board Discussion Meeting, the administration presented the first draft of the Base Budget for the 2017-18 School Year. The budget brings forward all programs currently offered to students only making changes in contractual obligations. The budget requires a millage increase of .54 mills of the .60 mills permitted under the Act 1 Index. Although exceptions to the Index were requested and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Base Budget does not require a millage increase to that extent. Of the .54 mill increase, .28 mills is for increased cost due to the PSERS rate increase for the retirement program required for all school district staff. The administration was given direction to look at possible decreases in costs and programming to bring the millage increase down to a lower level. The budget will be a discussion item at future Board meetings. A Proposed Budget will be presented for Board action at the April 18, 2017 meeting with action on a Final Budget at the May 22, 2017 meeting.
The School Board approved the legally required 2017-2018 Preliminary Budget at the Jan. 16 Regular Board Meeting and authorized the Administration to apply for exceptions to the Act 1 of 2006 Index as allowable under law.
In a statement read by School Board President Mary Birks, “We are required by law to pass this budget before the end of January. All school districts across the state of Pennsylvania are engaged in this same exercise. There are many items that remain unknown. A couple of the larger items include not having a State Budget from Harrisburg, which would give us an idea of funding, as well as not knowing all of our staffing needs for classes for 2017-18.
For that reason, and in order to give us the maximum flexibility to do what is best for the District, we vote on this preliminary budget which enables the district to utilize all applicable (Act One) exceptions. The millage rate posted in the preliminary budget does not require the board to raise taxes to that level; we will once again do our due diligence to do everything possible to minimize the tax burden on our residents.”
The School Board will begin discussion about the budget in March. More information will be available here at that time.