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PR Schools Budget Analysis Shows Widening Gap Between Income and Expenses

School board's finance committee looks at long-range budget numbers.

The Pine-Richland School Board already is looking at next year's budget, millage rate and a long-range forecast that shows expenses outpacing revenue.

Dana Siford, director of finance and school services, presented budget figures (see pdf in photo box) and reviewed the budget process Monday night for the board's finance committee.

On a graph showing budget figures from 2010 to 2018 is a divergent spot located above the year 2013 where the red line of expenses crosses over and rises above the blue line of revenue.

Siford also presented preliminary budget documents that factor in a 2 percent millage increase, which is the maximum amount allowed by the state.

"I did include the 2 percent tax increase ... just so we have somewhere to start from," Siford said.

Tax Increase?

It is too early to tell if or how much taxes will be increased.

If the school board wants to raise the tax rate higher than the 2 percent maximum set by the state, it must ask for the state's permission as part of a complicated budget process.

To make things even more complicated, the school board first must lower the millage rate to account for the county's reassessment.

Siford said the school board will follow a formula to reset the millage rate, but that cannot be done until she gets certified reassessment numbers from Allegheny County in January.  

From that point, the school board discusses setting a tax rate for the 2013-14 school year.

Timeline

By the end of January, the school board has to decide whether to adopt a resolution indicating it will not raise the tax rate more than the 2 percent maximum.

Otherwise, the board must make a proposed preliminary budget available for public inspection and ask the state for an exception to the 2 percent maximum.

Gap Analysis

Siford's budget projections show the district's expenses could outstrip revenue and fund balance by as much as $12 million by the end of 2018.

To come up with that figure, Siford estimates that expenses will be higher than revenue by $6.2 million and the fund balance will be minus $5.9 million.

Alternative Revenue

As the school board looks for alternative sources of funding, Siford also pointed out that the district has a policy in place that allows it to accept advertising. She noted the board could consider charging fees for naming rights to its stadium, auditoriums or other large areas. 

The finance committee also briefly discussed the possibility of working with the nonprofit PROF to raise funds for the district.

Finance committee members asked questions during the hourlong meeting, but did not discuss the budget projections at length. 

 

Did you know the school district's budget process for 2013-14 has started already? What do you think the Pine-Richland School Board should do about any budget shortfalls? Tell us in the comments.



PR Proud October 24, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Those waiting for Harrisburg politicians to absorb a sudden dose of reality for their misguided actions are in for a long wait; it is just not going to happen. Additional state funding for our schools is simply not coming our way. We are going to have to generate funding, decrease spending, and/or utilize our resources more efficiently for our schools. I would hope that any talk of increasing our taxes will be scuttled immediately..... too many in our community simply cannot afford this never-ending raid upon personal income. Questions need to be asked and answered. Questions like: Are our teachers being utilized fully as educators? In a school day, is every teacher directly instructing children for at least 6.5 hours of a less than 8 hour day? If not, why not have them do the job they are paid to do (maybe we might realize that we might be overstaffed and/or underutilized)? Could we consider a superintendent with a business acumen, willing to exercise a sound business philosophy with a premiere educational philosophy? Why is our central administration continuing to bloat in numbers? Why are we giving raises and additional perks (smartphones, extra vacation time, "work at home" options) to our well compensated administrators? In the same venue, why would we even consider giving raises to any district employees when our district finances are reaching "dire" levels? Raising district taxes must not be an option, at least until we become more austere.
Richland Township Democrats October 26, 2012 at 05:13 AM
NotBornaYinzer It appears from your comments that no rational thought can come from a Democrat, but the statement that was made is more about the lack of containment of cost from the 9 Republicans that have served on the School Board both past and present. Pine-Richland has raised taxes multiple times in the last few years. We may understand that sometimes when revenues fall short in a recession that it is tough to continue to govern when costs also go up. However, we are frustrated that our school board continues to tell everyone that they are fiscally conservative, yet they have never prepared for an economic downturn or unforeseen capital projects. Our point was that the state has made serious cuts to the funding they send to Pine-Richland. Hence the reason the blue line took a dip in 2012. We won’t hold our breath waiting for our State Senate (GOP majority), State House (GOP majority), and Republican Governor to truly address property tax reform. If the state is going to continue to cut education funding, they need to make a shift in how local schools collect taxes. The least regressive tax is an income tax. If they could shift the school board’s revenue to a slight increase in the local income tax (currently .5% of Earned Income in Pine-Richland), maybe we could lower the property tax rate accordingly.
Richland Township Democrats October 26, 2012 at 05:14 AM
NotBornaYinzer: In regards to your Democrats versus Republicans generalization, you might want to check Richland Township. They had multiple Democrats on their Board of Supervisors and they were able to put away a capital reserve fund and haven’t raised taxes since 1994.
Concerned Citizen October 26, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Your comment about the, "9 member all Republican school board" isn't exactly correct! Additionally, should they decide to take your course of action, the JROTC program that has made a huge impact on many students lives could be the first program to go? It is the only program in the school district that matches up exactly to the districts mission statement. It provides leadership, morals, & integrity education and has a large portion of the two instructors salaries paid for by the Air Force. I understand the need for trimming costs; however, this program brings enormous value to the community.
Charles Farley October 28, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Pardon the observation, but there is no way on this Earth you are a "former teacher" as your user name implies. If you were, you would realize that most teachers work well in excess of the time they are provding classroom instruction; and for those who are delivering a truly "academic" course (i.e. not a dedicated gym teacher) this can be a significant time commitment beyond face time with pupils, and ABSOLUTELY more than a typical 8-hour day. Your statements are inflammatory and not tethered to any real understanding of what it means to be an educator.

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