An article written by Yuge Xiao & Lavi Ben-Dorin in StogaNews online this morning, reports on the school board meeting and the updated school calendar, stating that“… students now have 179 school days. Staff will still have 191 days, with the last being on June 30. Originally, the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District (TESD) had scheduled 182 instructional days (the state requirement is 180). However, the district has chosen to not reschedule the two additional days.”
Thanks to Ray Clarke for attending TESD the meeting last night — Finance and Special School Board meeting — his notes are offered below:
Ray Clarke – Notes from February 10 Finance & Special School Board Meeting
1. Off-off-the-presses Affordable Care Act changes. The Board committed that the district will analyze the impact and report the results at the February 24th Board meeting. This is a hard commitment.
ACA Change: Companies with 100 workers or more are getting a different kind of one-year grace period. Instead of being required in 2015 to offer coverage to 95 percent of full-time workers, these bigger employers can avoid a fine by offering insurance to 70 percent of them next year
2. As suggested by some CM commenters, there are ways to save Spring Break and have the last day no later than June 20th: reducing instructional days from 182 to the state minimum of 180 and also counting three non-instructional days towards the 180. At the moment (before the the next storm on Thursday!) there are two days that remain to be used in this way and thus preserve Spring Break. The explanation wasn’t the clearest and I didn’t have a good angle on the screen, so the public should check the TESD web site for the approved calendar. Interesting here that the recently hired cafeteria manager was credited with bringing these ideas to the District from his previous public accounting (I think) experience.
3. The preliminary Budget was approved, with the authorization to file for Exceptions, which – if approved by the State – the Board has the discretion to use to whatever extent they deem necessary for the final Budget, which has to be passed by June 30th. Governor Corbett’s PA budget proposes reducing the increase in PSERS, which Art McDonnell stated would have the effect of reducing expenses by $600,000, if enacted exactly as-is. (I think that benefit is net of the state’s contribution, and presumably therefore the allowed exception would also be reduced by this amount – giving an allowed exception tax increase of ~0.6% rather than the current 1.1%). Many moving pieces here, and obviously important to make sure that the latest and best information is brought to bear on the final decision. Much reference to the March and April budget workshops, which hopefully can include fine-tuning across the board, incorporating things like salary “breakage”, for example.
4. Not discussed at the Board or Finance Committee, but there is an important Education Committee meeting tomorrow at 1:30pm. Topics include a review of the Special Education program (which we have told will be over-spending this year’s budget by $850,000 [over 5%], for over 1,000 students receiving special education services in the District]. Also on the Agenda, enrollment projections. At 12:30pm the Legislative Committee will be reviewing the Governor’s education budget and perhaps providing some insight on its prospects.
5. The district’s transportation staff drove the bus routes on Sunday to check that the roads were cleared sufficiently to allow the schools to open today – quite an effort and accomplishment, I think.