In a letter that starts out "Dear Partner in Education," Pine-Richland's superintendent of schools Wednesday informed the community of the school board's recent budget vote that calls for no tax increase.
"The Pine-Richland School Board approved a $63 million budget without increasing taxes," Dr. Mary Bucci wrote in an open letter that is published on the district's website.
It explains that the 2011-12 general fund budget "includes total expenditures of $63,900,266 and total revenues of $63,050,546 with a fund balance utilization of $849,720 for capital improvements and potential payouts for retirements."
The months-long budget process was particularly tense this year because the district needed to find $1.5 million in cuts to balance its budget after the school board directed the administration to develop a budget that reflected no tax increase.
In the final weeks before the budget was adopted Monday, some school board members suggested increasing taxes to avoid some of those cuts.
The vote to adopt the final budget was split 5-4. for a related story.
"The budget retained two para-educators who were expected to be furloughed but does not replace five retiring para-educators," Bucci said in her budget message. "However, the district is setting aside a contingency fund to be used if additional para-educators are needed and/or class size needs to be addressed."
The district also plans to assess an activities/athletic participation fee for the 2011-2012 school year, she wrote.
"The fee is subject to change, but is estimated at $90 per student at the high school and $55 per student at the middle school," according to Bucci.
"While there may be disagreement on how to resolve our budget issues, never doubt the commitment that each board member and administrator has in doing what's best for all of our children," Bucci wrote. "As difficult as the process has been, Pine-Richland School District continues to provide quality programs."