PR School Board to Consider Budget Proposal With 3.2 Percent Tax Increase

Proposed budget also calls for cuts.

When the Pine-Richland School Board meets Monday, it will have a budget proposal before it that calls for a 3.2 percent tax increase and cuts that include 15 teaching positions.

That is what the finance committee decided Wednesday night as it considered a budget of about $65 million that has a $2 million gap between revenue and expenses.

The proposal has a caveat—about $477,300 of the increased revenue would be placed in a reserve to help deal with the rising costs of the Public School Employees' Retirement System, commonly referred to as PSERS.

The school board is scheduled to vote at its 7:30 p.m. Monday meeting to adopt a proposed final budget, which will then be posted for public review.

The meeting will be held at the Pine-Richland School District Administrative Offices Building, 702 Warrendale Road, Gibsonia.

The finance committee meets again to discuss the budget and hear from the public at 6 p.m. May 29.

Final adoption of the budget and setting the tax rate is scheduled for the board's June 25 meeting.

Click here to see the proposed reductions that are outlined as Plan A in a memo from Superintenent Dr. Mary Bucci. The cuts include:

Physical Education:

A cut in the number of physical education teachers from 17 to 11.5 in the district. 

Physical education time at Eden Hall would be reduced from six days in a 10-day rotation to once a week in grades four, five, and six for 40 minutes. This would include health instruction.

High school requirements would be reduced to 1 credit of physical education, including health education. Currently, high school students are required to take a PE class every year.

Changes at Eden Hall to Simplify the Schedule

1. General music would be reduced from three days in a 10-day rotation to once a week in grades four, five, and six as it is in grades one, two, and three. The current time for music is 30 minutes three times in 10 days for a total of 90 minutes. The program change would provide 5 minutes per week less general music time.

2. General art would be reduced from three days in a 10-day rotation to once a week in grades four, five, and six as it is in grades one, two, and three. The current time for art is 30 minutes three times in 10 days for a total of 90 minutes. The program change would provide 5 minutes per week less general art time.

3. In grades 4-6, advanced language arts and math instruction will be provided through the biomes to which the student will be assigned. There will be one or more advanced language arts sections at each grade level depending upon the achievement scores of the students within the biomes.

Placement exams will be given to determine individual student need. The number of placement assessments has been reduced to minimize the amount of testing time for students at the elementary grade levels. Curriculum-based assessments, standardized assessments, classroom grades, and 2011-2012 PSSA scores will be some of the determining factors in placing students in advanced programming.

4. Currently all students at Eden Hall receive keyboarding instruction in grades four, five, and six for three days out of a 10- day cycle. That would change to once a week for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. The keyboarding would be for fourth grade only. The business curriculum in grades five and six would be upgraded to cover Microsoft Office programs and web tools.

5. Currently all students at Eden Hall receive world language instruction in grades four, five, and six for three days in a 10-day cycle. The proposal would change world language instruction to once a week in grades four, five, and six.

6. This would round out the weekly encore rotation:

• One physical education class per week;

• One music class per week;

• One art class per week;

• One business class per week;

• One world language class per week.

7. Band, chorus, orchestra and instrument lessons would be offered to fifth and sixth graders only.

8. Plan A requires the reduction of one-half of a current art position, one and one-half of current music positions, and two current elementary classroom teaching positions.

High School Electives

Since A. W. Beattie Career/Vocational School currently offers a child development program in which Pine-Richland High School students are able to enroll, Bucci is proposing that the district eliminate the child development program at the high school.

Music electives such as Beginner Piano and Music Theory would also be eliminated. These reductions in programming would eliminate one family and consumer science position and one-half music position at the high school. 

Click here to see Pine-Richland School District budget documents, emails and a timeline.

a mom May 17, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Dear Parent #2, A dinosaur it may be! Oh, how I love a spirited debate!
Alan May 17, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Greed, Arrogance, Stupidity...PRSD is doomed! God Help Our Children! Great Job Bucci and PRSD board...you should be proud!
Alan May 17, 2012 at 10:54 PM
No wonder so many homes are for sale! Get us the hell out of here!
Rich W May 20, 2012 at 11:55 AM
I find it disturbing that the number one reason given for the fiscal turmoil at PR is the retirement contribution. According to the district website, "the gap this year is largely due to the required increase in the district's contribution to our employees' retirement fund. The Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System (PSERS) is a state-run organization that manages and controls the retirement system for all state employees, including PR employees. The PSERS board mandates the contribution rate and the dollar amount that PRSD and other public school members are required to contribute, to fund this ongoing liability." What is neglected to be defined is PR employees. The general public is led to the conclusion that PR employees means "teachers." After all they are the reason for this and other districts financial ruin (and not educational success). Actually, PR employees also consists of Administrators. Administrators belong to the same PSERS plan as do the teachers but this is rarely, if ever mentioned. So where are the cuts in Administration. I look on the Administration's page on the school district website and I see a heck a lot of names that benefit from PSERS as well. Look, I (and most tax payers) don't want to see ANYONE lose their jobs but when you start pointing fingers, eventually the finger gets pointed back at you. Mediate. Work through this. This is not "Survivor Island" here! Quit taking the easy way out by casting people off!
Richland parent May 20, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Yes Rich you are right. Administrators are also included in PSERS but the district wants the public to think this is a teacher only problem. Also the state allowed all the PA school districts the opportunity to not make their full yearly contribution for the past several years. Now to make up for this PA is telling the districts to pay up. All those years the district did not make its full contribution the teachers still had almost 8% of each paycheck put into PSERS. The teachers are getting a bad rap for something they had no control over.
4thekids May 22, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Unfortunately, the Board and Superintendent are hurting the students. Yes, teacher jobs are at stake, but aren't we worried about the future learning of our kids. I am furious that "they" are so short sighted and want to drop programs. I want my children to have opportunities to expand their knowledge and interests, that is why we chose Pine Richland. I wouldn't call it a Top Ranked school district anymore.
a mom May 22, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Unfortunately it seems as though the fate of our teachers and programs have already been decided. I watched the blank faces of the school board members as 30 residents,students, and former students spoke. Watching all of the teachers walking together in support of each other to the meeting really made a statement. I am afraid it did not matter what any one of us said. Off they went to executive session so as to preserve the shroud of secrecy. Lots of tears were shed tonight.
a mom May 22, 2012 at 04:29 AM
Thank you to the school board for doing the right thing! What an emotional evening.
4thekids May 22, 2012 at 10:59 AM
This decision wasn't easy, but kudos for saving most of the educational programs.
Stacy May 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Residents deserved the right to vote on this tax hike. That aside, I am curious what classes people would agree to being cut. NA's average SAT scores are now 1694 and their average AP scores are 4.1; they dramatically beat out PR with their average SAT scores of 1650 and average AP scores of 3.3. My point is that simply throwing money at a district does not make for a better education, and everyone has to live within a budget. Well, everyone but the PRSD, lol.
Stacy May 22, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Carloe: PRSD's ranking DROPPED and is below NA....who spends less for what on paper seems to be a more productive education. The rating of the district has dropped in recent years.
Stacy May 22, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Nancy Orr: I agree with you on that.
Stacy May 22, 2012 at 12:27 PM
I find it amusing that there has been all this emotional ruckus over Child Development classes that the district already pays AW Beattie to offer and 4th graders having music "only" once a week, but no one noticed or seems to care that Economics was cut as well as the science capabilities at the HS level in recent time at the same time the PRSD ratings, SAT scores, AP scores have all dropped.
Parent #2 May 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Totally agree Stacy!
a mom May 22, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Hey Stacy and Parent #2. I did hear you speak out last night for the budget cuts. Thank you! Oh wait.... no one spoke in favor of the proposed budget cuts. I forgot! The thirty people who had the guts to speak to the board were all against proposed budget cuts. My mistake Stacy and Parent#2. Sorry
crosbycat May 22, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Maybe they wrote letters.
a mom May 22, 2012 at 03:27 PM
maybe, but we will never know because those letters are not read or made public like they used to be. JUST SAYIN!
Stacy May 22, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Hi "a mom" I am also "a mom" and did speak in favor of cuts to the board. You are mistaking nonattendance at a meeting as silent apathy. As I stated previously in this thread, my agreement with the cuts outlined by the board was sent in writing to the board: I did not need a crowd surrounding me to speak my mind one way or the other. You also seem to equate speaking at a meeting when the majority present are in agreement with you as "guts". This sounds rather insulting to me and am inclined to politly disagree with you. I put my statements in writing at at no time tried to hide my identity...even in something such as this thread.
Stacy May 22, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Respectfully, the "we" that mattered was the school board who did receive my input.
a mom May 22, 2012 at 04:16 PM
My comment was not meant to behurtful or disrespectful but to provoke thought. If your feelings toward the budget are as you say , then your presence at the meeting is important. No one at those board meetings knows what the content of your letters are except for the board memebers. There were two long lists presented of tax payers and parents whom wrote in. We as attendees only get a brief statement of all the letters in a lump sum. I ask how did you know that the thirty people who stood up and spoke would be against the budget proposal before you went? We can all go onto the board minutes and find your name Stacy. In any case this was not a total victory and no one is jumping for joy.
a mom May 22, 2012 at 04:19 PM
As I suspected there is no Stacy in correspondence or maybe you used a pseudonym. In any case I can not use my name because I am to close to the matter and it could effect many people who still work for the district.
Parent #2 May 22, 2012 at 04:24 PM
A mom- why do you presume that 30 people represents the entire community?
a mom May 22, 2012 at 05:04 PM
In all of my comments what makes you believe that I assume that the thirty people who spoke represented the majority? I am merely stating that those who spoke, spoke against budget cuts. If you felt so strongly about the budget approval then maybe you could have rallied the opposition and then there would have been a balance of pro and con at that meeting, I realize that this effects all of us financially, especially the elderly. I can afford the $100.00 extra I might have to pay to facilitate the district in providing our children the education they deserve. And if I can't afford it I will get another job. And if it is such a hardship for you and others you do have an option. The power of free speech is so grand and I would never deny a person their 1st ammendment right. We can agree to disagree but in no way did our teachers win. Nor was I in a war with you, only a war of words! I love it! FREE SPEECH PREVAILS!
Stacy May 22, 2012 at 05:10 PM
"a mom": Lol! I am amused that you think I am using a pseudonym when you will not even use your real name. I, too, am "close" to the issue: I am a taxpayer as well as a parent and a volunteer for the district. I assure you that the name entered on my letter was in fact "Stacy" and my last name is "Burris" and since I received a thank you from the board I assure you it was received and read. It is a sad day when people have to hide their names to voice an opinion...or are attacked because they dissent with 30 people at a meeting. *And to be clear: I have attended many board meetings over the years and have found that a concise letter calmly stating reasoning is equally as powerful as emotional rants. As with any issue there are always two sides; after reading this thread it is clear to me that this issue needed to be taken to all taxpayers for a vote.
Stacy May 22, 2012 at 05:18 PM
....and I suspect you are not looking closely enough or are assuming they printed all letters for your perusal. I assure you that I am in fact a real person, using my real name who really is amused by you at this point.
Stacy May 22, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I don't assume that 30 people are a majority but do agree with you that apparently the only way to be truly heard is to gather a crowd and publicly lambaste the school board. Honestly, I find that system a shame and disheartening, but see where that is what some of the school board responds to.
a mom May 22, 2012 at 07:34 PM
I am thrilled that you are amused and sparking a lively debate is my intention. I am glad that you took the time to write to the board and express your thoughts. I am just saying that those letters used to be read at school board meetings and when I said that your name was not amongst those who corresponded that is a fact. Your name is in the minutes. Probably an oversight due to the amount of correspondence. I will say to you and everyone out there that I cannot use my name and not due to a child being in the district,nor due to voluntering in the district. Many people do know who I am. I am only protecting those who work in the district. If that is not an acceptable excuse than you and everyone else who does not know who " A mom " is will have to deal with it. Taxpayers do not get a vote. We vote for school board members to make our votes. A sad day Stacy is when one has to hide their identity due to reprucussions from administration and the school board. Hey, Stacy and if you would have attended last nights meeting you would know that the decorum was refined and their were no emotional rants.
Stacy May 22, 2012 at 08:37 PM
"a mom", I like "lively debate" as well...until it becomes personal and leans into a more emotional than factual conversation. OK, I get it: You must remain anonymous because you feel you are protecting someone at the school. Got it. Of course, there is no way to double check you on this claim nor can I incorrectly make statements and then realize that I must retract them(IE: in regards to my letter to the board) So let's move past that. As for the decorum in the meeting last night: I was told that there was in fact outbursts and emotional rants about the cuts as well as a sidetracked issue of concussion policy. I was also told that some kids sang in support of the music program. Either way, my letter and hence opinion needs to hold the same weight as every other adult opinion *whether I am in a room for a meeting. (I say "adult" as children do not pay taxes) It is horrific to think that the suggestion is that a school board reacts to the crowd physically before them....and I sincerely hope that is not what happened last night.
a mom May 23, 2012 at 12:16 AM
You were told that decorum included outbursts and emotional rants. Had you been there you would know that it was a dignified meeting. I will tell you Stacy that it is not one person I protect but all who are in the union. Many are colleagues and remain friends. The children who stood up and sang before the board were dellightful. The 1st ammendment right protects all of us and not just adults. The voice of the youth were there and they are the ones being affected. Did you know that children at Eden Hall had a petition against the budget cuts? Did you hear about the senior that moved here in 4th grd who has been bullied through out her esteemed career at PRSD? The only thing that made her feel that she belonged was music. Horrific, is a strong word to use in regards to last nights meeting. Debate is over until next year. I will tell you what I told Parent #2 and that is "you speak of which you do not know". Saying "I heard" shows your ignorance and next year I am sure you will be at the budget meetings. Maybe next year I can sign my name proudly, but unless everyone I am associated with either resigns or retires I will remain "A mom". And to those of you who know who I am that is because you are entrusted friends in the district. Stacy, unfortunately you and I will be paying the price, but not because of my words. And if I have to sat it again in the Patch "KIDS ARE GOATS". This is slang at its best and if you want to sound reasonably intelligent do not use slang.
Stacy May 23, 2012 at 01:06 AM
To "a mom", OK, you have really lost me now. I guess I have to start with your last 3 sentences which make no sense whatsoever. You "sat again in the Patch "KIDS ARE GOATS"" ? Maybe you are referring to something written in the Patch about calling kids goats? Or you are upset that I stated that some "kids sang in support of the music program"? You seem to be really determined to attack on a silly level which is odd coming from someone that has used the term "whatever" to address other peoples opinions. I was not being condescending about CHILDREN singing. Perhaps you have fought too much today or refuse to see any other position but your own: good luck with that.


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