Final approval of the Avon Grove School District's 2010-11 budget is not scheduled until June 10, but Superintendent Augustus Massaro wants the school board to be aware that the following year already has its own set of problems. Even without any unexpected cost increases the combination of known new costs and disappearing revenues will leave the district $5.6 million short for 2011-12.
"It's important that we bring this to your attention," Massaro told the board. "This information is very tentative but it's information that we're seeing at this time. Who knows, maybe we'll win the lottery."
The budget information Massaro gave the board showed that the decisions made for this year have longer impacts. The 2010-11 budget uses $1.5million from the fund balance along with the one time savings of $.8million. Add in a $.3 million debt service increase and there is $2.6 million in this budget that is not available in 2011-12.
The future budget will also be impacted by potential cost increases. Salaries and wages are contracted to increase by $1.2 million in '11-12, plus there is an expected $1 million increase in medical insurance, a $.3 million hike in PSERS retirement fund contributions, and a half million increase in district tuition to the technical college high school.
"As you consider this year's budget I think it?s important that you look at these numbers," Massaro told the board. He also pointed out that there are a number of programs that may lose their current state or federal funding.
"A lot of the stimulus money is going to disappear, which is going to be devastating to the school district."
District business manager James Asciutto then explained that the district will probably see a lower limit on the amount that they are allowed to increase real estate taxes in 2011-12 without going to a referendum. He expects that the allowable millage rate increase for the district in that year will be only around 2 percent. That represents a revenue increase of just $800,000.
The best suggestion Massaro has for the residents and board members at this point is one that he has suggested before. "Contact your legislators and let them know the impact of funding for public education," he said.
The board also wants Harrisburg to know their feelings on cyber charter school funding that is reportedly leading to large fund balances for the schools. Schools with buildings have maintenance and construction costs that the on-line charter schools don't, yet they receive the same per student tuition.
"I see huge taxpayer dollars going into these vacuums," board member Lynn Klingensmith said.
One grant program it appears the district will not be participating in is Race To The Top, which could have brought in $150,000 to $200,000.
The board will hold a special meeting on June 3 at 6:30 p.m. To interview candidates for appointment to the board position vacated by Daniel Black,who resigned April 22. Applicants must be a resident of Region III, which includes London Grove, Avondale, and voting district No. 2 of West Grove Borough. The appointment will run until Dec. 5, 2011. Applications for the position must be received in the district office by 4 p.m. June 1.