It is noted that the T/E School Board recently established an “Ad Hoc Committee for Elementary Enrollment” for the purpose of analyzing enrollment and facilities information and making a recommendation to ensure building capacity and educational programming needs in the District’s elementary schools.
Serving on the committee are school board members Virginia Lastner, Roberta Hotinski, Todd Kantorczyk and Kate Murphy.
The first meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee is tonight, March 22 at 6:300 PM at the TE Administration offices, 940 West Valley Road. According to the agenda notice, the Committee “will review the elementary school enrollment history, past decisions and the impact that rising student enrollment is having on the delivery of the District’s elementary school program.”
The creation of this Ad Hoc Committee has me wondering if this the first step in what has long been rumored … an announcement that the school district is building a new elementary school? And with the building of the facilities building with a price tag of $4 million, one can only wonder the cost of a new elementary school. For the sake of the District’s taxpayers, I hope that responsible due diligence is performed in advance of any construction decision. I hope we can expect a long-range demographic analysis and student enrollment projection to justify any proposed capital projects.
A reminder of the TE School District tax increases.
- 2016-17: 3.6%
- 2015-16: 3.81%
- 2014-15: 3.4%
- 2013-14: 1.7%
- 2012-13: 3.3%
- 2011-12: 3.77%
- 2010-11: 2.9%
- 2009-10: 2.95%
- 2008-09: 4.37%
- 2007-08: 3.37%
- 2006-07: 3.90%
- 2005-06: 1.40%
- 2004-05: Zero Tax Increase
Fiscal responsibility and accountability are often used as campaign platforms, particularly by those seeking to serve on the school board. It is important that they deliver on those promises.
Last week, the TE School Board held a 2017/18 budget workshop. Although I was not at the meeting, Ray Clarke attended and provides his notes below.
The 2017/18 Budget Workshop focused on the revenue and staffing side, which was as humdrum as usual. Just a couple of interesting items:
– Current real estate revenue projected to be up 5.8% vs this year’s Budget and Projection, although the max rate increase is 3.4%. The difference ascribed to an increase in the assessed base, which at 2.4% which seems to be really high notwithstanding the current development boom. Maybe this year’s projection is low??? Not the first time.
– Talking of low ball budgeting: the administration acknowledged that the budgeted 0.05% rate of return on the taxpayer millions that the school district is sitting on is “conservative”. Yes indeed, when the Fed Funds rate is going up 0.25% every few months. (I can’t make the math work with the 0.05% assumption, though).
– Enrollment spiked by a surprising 178 (2.7%) in the current year and more growth is projected next year, which will require more teachers even though some grades are decreasing. Important to note here, that development can go some way to paying for increased students through the increased tax base – the key being the balance of commercial/senior living/apartment to residential family. Of course, property turnover favoring families is another driver of enrollment.
– And one factor influencing that turnover is the tax rate and the news on that front raises an alarm: somehow the early predictions for the Act 1 index are 3.0% next year and 3.3% for the three years thereafter. That’s 50% over the current inflation rate and consequent cost of living increases. The Board has to stay vigilant against a default assumption that perpetual routine tax increases of “Index plus Exceptions” is acceptable.
(And a minor irritation: that $4 million maintenance and storage building generated the need for an additional Supervisor to manage supplies. You’d have thought – and we were told, I think, that centralized storage would be more efficient, not less….,)