Pattye Benson

Community Matters

$1.5 Million Budget Deficit … Will T/E Use Fund Balance in Lieu of Demotion or Increasing Class Size?

Click here to see the draft on the 2012-13 final budget of TESD to be presented at tonight’s school board meeting – 7:30 PM, TESD administration office, 940 West Valley Road, Suite 1700, Wayne. Click here for the agenda. Thanks to Community Matters reader Roberta Hotinski for providing the updated information and link from the District.

The draft budget reflects a proposed tax increase of 3.3% … 1.7% from Act 1 Index ($1.5 million) and 1.6% from Act 1 Exceptions ($1,498,916). Based on an average residential assessment of $252,601, the average tax increase proposed by the budget is $155 to the taxpayer.

Applying the previously accepted strategies, the District’s budget deficit for 2012-13 is $1,547,888. Now here is the curious part … you will note on page 3 of the proposed final budget (see below) that next to the $1.5 million+ deficit are the words “Satisfied with Fund Balance Contribution”. At both the last school board meeting and the finance committee meeting, when various residents asked school board members about using some of the $32 million fund balance for the budget shortfall, that option was quickly dismissed (with little discussion). School board members were unwilling to discuss using the fund balance to bridge the budget gap but rather focused attention on the remaining strategies of (1) soliciting tax exempt property owners in lieu of taxes, (2) increasing class size and (3) demotion of professional staff for economic reasons.

For the record, page 7 of the proposed final budget continues to list strategies, N-14, Solicit Tax Exempt Property Owners in Lieu of Taxes, N-16, Demotion/Attrition of Professional Staff for Economic Reasons – $640,328 and N-19, Increase Class Size by One at Each Level – $607,500. However, based on the proposed fund balance transfer listed on page 3 of the budget, it would appear that the school board might have changed their mind in regards to demotion and increased class size as budget strategies.

If I am interpreting the District budget proposal correctly in regards to the fund transfer, this could be good news for those supporting the District teachers most in risk of demotion. Additionally, maybe this new information will begin to move the teacher contract negotiations forward towards a peaceful resolution. Here’s hoping!


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