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Business Department News

Perkiomen Valley School District’s Board of Directors approved a $105,189,695 spending plan for the 2017-18 school year at the June 12 meeting, after many months of making adjustments to reduce expenditures without having a negative effect on the district’s academic programming.

Next year’s budget includes a 2.36 percent tax increase, which is below the 2.9 percent cap that the School Board had agreed not to exceed. Some of the adjustments made to the budget to balance the budget included:

· Reducing staffing by two positions through attrition
· Negotiating a reduction to the proposed increase in contracted costs with STA (bus company) from 2.9 to 2.5 percent
· Refunding in March 2017 saved $30,004
· Using $246,000 from the reserve fund set aside for retirement costs
· Using a total of $974,770 from the unassigned fund balance to offset the budgetary shortfall
· Using $692,360 from the debt service fund balance to offset the budgetary shortfall

Next year’s budget includes the addition of an art teacher at the middle school level through the reallocation of funds previously used for middle school online world language instruction. The district had tried piloting online world language instruction as a way to offer language choices of Latin, German or Chinese, but found that the online instructional model was not effective for students and will discontinue it. The funds once applied to this program will be used for an additional faculty member, meaning both middle schools will now have an art teacher, instead of one instructor shared between buildings.

Funding has also been set aside as reserved fund balance to take care of some much needed capital improvement projects. The district will be fixing and repairing Campus Drive from Route 29 to Kagey Road. Significant infrastructure repairs will happen underneath the surface of the road to provide a sturdier foundation and better durability. Total project costs (including project design, implementation, testing and management services) are not to exceed $1,093,000 and will be paid for through savings in the Assigned Capital Projects fund.

One other project that will take place this summer is repair of the masonry in the high school band room. Severe drainage issues outside this room have caused the walls to shift and crack. Costs to complete this repair work ($342,270) will also be taken from the Assigned Capital Projects fund.

Several other major projects - such as roof repairs, pool renovation, and HVAC at the high school – will also take place this summer as part of a new money bond issue that will be placed strategically into existing debt structure payment columns. This will be combined with an existing $5,000,000 balance for Assigned Capital Projects to cover the cost over 14 years without raising taxes specifically for these projects, which are all meant to improve energy efficiency. You can read more about them here

Overall for next year’s budget, expenditures have increased 5.2 percent over the current budget. Almost 92 percent of that increase is tied to increased state-mandated contributions to the Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement System (PSERS), contractual salary increases, debt service payments, health benefits and the STA contract. PSERS is the single largest expenditure increase for the district – the district’s contribution rate will increase 32 percent next year and represents nearly 50 percent of the district’s benefits costs.

Though it has been challenging to budget with such large increases dictated by the state, the School Board and administration have worked hard to keep taxes below the state index. This year, that index for PV was 2.9 percent. The approved budget includes a 2.36-percent tax increase. For the average homeowner with an assessed home value of $180,000, that results in a $134 increase over last year.