POTTSTOWN PA – School board members declined Tuesday (April 23, 2013) to adopt the “proposed final general fund budget” of the Pottsgrove School District for the 2013-2014 academic year, deciding instead to table its approval, and suggested the spending plan needed more refinement before they would accept it and its accompanying 3.5-percent real estate tax increase.
Superintendent Sellie Feola gestures during Tuesday’s Pottsgrove school board meeting
“I think it’s too early to consider approving this,” Director Michael Neiffer objected. He said the board still lacked information from both the state and administration that could guide it in making changes if needed. His colleagues agreed.
The $62.01 million budget, as it currently stands, carries an average hike in annual tax payments of about $155 per district household. The public must have 30 days to examine the budget after its adoption and before directors confirm it as final by or on June 30. That gives the board slightly more than a month to do any fine-tuning.
Business Administrator David Nester assured directors that most speculative and still unconfirmed state education revenues, on which the budget might depend, had been removed. It still includes, however, $172,000 in subsidies that Gov. Tom Corbett promised Pottsgrove as part of his $90 million education aid package presented earlier this year.
It also includes, apparently uncut, amounts requested by Superintendent Shellie Feola and her administration for facilities, technology, special education, and curriculum and textbook purchases, Nester said. Neiffer and other directors previously raised concerns about budget increases sought for those and other items; they indicated savings may be found there.
Neiffer, in particular, asked several questions regarding new staff positions the administration wants to fill or add. Most, he said, were forwarded to him by residents who wondered why new hires were needed now, and what value their roles offered the district.
Some refinements to which directors alluded may have already been tackled by Nester. During the board’s last budget discussion, on April 9, he said the plan included a $119,000 deficit. As of Tuesday, he reported, it carried a modest $46,000 surplus. The numbers could change again depending on news from Harrisburg or board decisions, he acknowledged.
“We far from done with the budget process,” Nester noted.
Related (to the Pottsgrove School District 2013-’14 budget):
Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ April 23 meeting):