STOWE PA – Faced with a $1.2 million shortfall between what it might receive in revenues during the 2011-2012 school year and what it might spend, the Pottsgrove School District Board of School Directors voted unanimously Tuesday (Jan. 18, 2011) to advertise a proposed preliminary budget of $58.5 million for public review, and said it would seek permission to raise next year’s taxes above a state-imposed 1.8-percent cap.
The spending plan presented to directors by district Business Administrator David Nester consists, he said, of conservative expectations, aggressive calculations and best guesses. Nester’s problem, he explained during the board’s meeting at West Pottsgrove Elementary School in Stowe, is that the state hasn’t yet announced how much money it intends to give Pottsgrove for its annual basic education subsidy.
Some kind of budget, however, must be submitted by Jan. 27, or Pottsgrove would be locked into the tax cap, known as its Act 1 index. Raising property taxes by no more than 1.8 percent next year, or about $74 for the district’s average home, “would just be painful,” Nester told directors. The preliminary budget approval was their response.
Next year’s preliminary budget amounts to $58,550,072, which is $896,000 more than this year’s adopted budget. Of that amount 64 percent, or $37 million, pays for salaries and benefits alone for all district employees. Although the budget covers anticipated longevity or “step” increases for district teachers, it does not include any amounts for raises that could result from contract negotiations already under way.
A tax increase of about 5.2 percent, representing an additional $215 in taxes above this year’s level on a district home valued at $120,000, would be needed to erase the preliminary deficit. Directors made it clear they didn’t want to go anywhere near that number, and will start to look for budget items to cut while Nester petitions the state for the ability to increase taxes more, possibly by up to 3.6 percent.
The preliminary budget was expected to be available for public inspection Wednesday (Jan. 19) at the district offices, 1301 Kauffman Rd., Pottstown PA, and also for download from the district’s website, Nester said.
Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ meeting of Jan. 18):
- Best Guesses, Deficit Launch Pottsgrove Budget Season
- Pottsgrove Canceled Tuesday School Board Meeting
- Few Change Orders, So Far, At Ringing Rocks