All Dates are tentative and subject to change
Note: Presentation Link will be active after the Board Meeting
Date of Presentation / Link
Budgets Presented / Board Action(Schedule is subject to change)
(Highlights will be posted after the meeting has concluded with major items that were presented/discussed at the Meeting)
Debt, Warehouse/Transportation, Comprehensive Plan, Building Budgets
- The Act 1 Index for Palisades School District for the 2018-2019 budget year is 2.4%. This is the maximum increase allowable for the District without seeking exceptions. This index is set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
- Increase in Charter Schools budget is due to increased enrollment and increased cost per student that attends a Charter School. The total increase is for $278,500. The District pays $17,129 for a Non-special Education student and $38,274 for a Special Education Student in the current year with rates projected to increase to $19,000 and $41,000 respectively. Continual efforts are made by our administrators and cyber teachers to contact families of students choosing charter schools to explore options within our schools.
- Comprehensive Plan budget included funding requests for: Restorative Practice training for all staff, after school activities programs for elementary and middle school students, continuing the Leadership Facilitator to assist students with securing volunteer activities, and community engagement activities relative to continuing our important connections with our families and other residents, as well as continuing to support students in making good choices.
Equipment, Administration, Building Maintenance, Capital Projects, and Other Education
- The proposed equipment budget for the district includes updated technology and replacement furniture at the elementary level, along with a service van for our Technology Department, medical equipment for schools and musical instruments. The total of all equipment requests is $85,852.
- The Administration Budget included a budgetary decrease of about 6% due to a renegotiation of our current copier lease affording additional features and new copiers. Also included in the budget presentation were an increase in General Liability Insurance and a decrease in the School Board dues line item.
- As part of this proposed budget, Fund Balance monies would be designated to replace the roof at the Middle School, several computer network upgrades and repairing the asphalt at Tinicum Elementary and the High School. These capital improvements would be taken from the district’s savings and not add to the taxpayers’ property tax bill.
- Special and Other Education was decreased by $16,500 based on the expected needs of our students in 2018-2019.
Educational Support, Salary, Benefits, Revenue
- Although we are seeing increased costs for Educational Support, including books, software and other consumables (driven by our district’s five year curricular review), we have also seen a decrease in any budgeted grants being received, especially at the federal level. Educational Support also includes those costs planned for professional development for our staff as we continue provide a rigorous curriculum for our students. Classroom technology upgrades including infrastructure, replacement equipment and software license fees are budgeted in this area as well. The total increase for Educational Support is nearly $50,000 and a decrease of approximately $39,000 in grant funding at the federal level.
- A salary increase of 5% is budgeted for contractual increases is budgeted for teaching staff, support staff and administrators. Also included in this line item is the cost for our day to day substitutes through Source4Teachers budgeted at $350,000.
- The budget includes a benefit increase of $914,447 due to an increase in the state mandated PSERS rate increase of eligible salaries from 32.57% to 33.43%. We have also budgeted for an estimated 15% increase in health insurance.
- Revenues are projected to increase by 0.96% with the largest increase coming from state revenues and more specifically the state reimbursement of 50% of mandated retirement expenses.
Preliminary Budget / Resolution not to Exceed the Act 1 Index
- The School Board passed the Resolution not to exceed the Act 1 Index of 2.4%
Summary of the Budget Process 12/20/17:
The net result of the budget items presented to the Board reflects a preliminary overall deficit of $1,903,009. This is the worst case scenario as it relates to projected school spending and revenues for the 2018-2019 school year. By passing the resolution at Wednesday’s (12/20/17) School Board Meeting, the Board has limited the tax increase for the 2018-2019 school year to 2.4%. There has been no determination what the tax increase will be by the time the Final Budget is approved in June, however, an increase for the 2018-2019 school year cannot be more than 2.4% (our district’s Act 1 index as specified by the PA Department of Education). There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done on this budget by the School Board and Administration between now and when the final budget is passed in June. Costs will be trimmed while balancing our ability to provide the best possible education for all of our students.
- The School Board approved a Proposed Final Budget with a 2% tax increase as a “worst-case” scenario (millage increase of 2.266 mills for a new millage rate of 115.566 mills). This would result in a real estate tax increase of roughly $77.61 to the average homeowner (calculated on the current median household assessed value of $34,066). That calculated increase may still be adjusted to a lower rate; it cannot exceed this amount as an average.
- The allowable increase for the Palisades School District set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education was 2.4% or 2.71 mills.
- The biggest driving force behind the expenditure budget increase is an increase in State mandated retirement costs of more than $374,000 and the State mandated Charter School increases totaling $347,500.
- At the upcoming meeting of the Fiscal Committee, on May 14th at 9 a.m. (in the District Office), further discussion will take place regarding additional reductions to the Proposed Final Budget. A goal of a 0% increase is ideal, and more reductions will be needed to meet this goal.
- Final Budget is scheduled for a vote by the School Board on June 6.
- The board passed the Final Budget for 2018-19 that included a tax increase of 0.88% or 1 mill to 114.3 mils in real estate taxes.
- This increase is approximately $34.83 for the average assessed value at $34,410.
- The final budget for the 2018-19 school year does not include any reductions in programs or services for Palisades’ students. No teachers or staff were furloughed.
- This is the fifth year the School Board will use funds from the Retirement Spike Fund (a savings for mitigating increasing retirement expenses) to cover a significant increase in retirement contributions, topping more than 34% of eligible salaries; all school districts across the state have been facing this problem. These funds are being utilized to offset this increasing cost, while not overburdening taxpayers with high spikes in the retirement rates.
- Other projects funded in this budget for the 2018-19 school year include: a new Middle School roof, High School HVAC upgrades, computer network upgrades, additional security upgrades for all buildings, expenses related to the final year of the current Comprehensive Plan, and this is the final year of implementation of a new elementary curriculum reading program.