School board advertises proposed 2014-15 budget
WORCESTER — The Methacton school board Tuesday approved the advertisement of the district’s proposed 20142015 preliminary budget.
Stewart Whiteleather, Methacton’s director of business services, gave a detailed presentation of the proposed preliminary budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Without announcements from state and federal officials regarding public education funding for next year, the proposed preliminary budget is full of estimates, according to Whiteleather.
“I fully expect that there will be a significant change from what was initially presented,” he said.
As it stands now, expenditures for next year are estimated to increase by $4 million compared with this year’s budget, Whiteleather said. Half of those increases can be attributed to Methacton’s employer contribution costs in the Pennsylvania School Employee’s Retirement System.
This year, PSERS announced an employer contribution rate increase from 16.9 percent to 21.4 percent for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, which accounts for $2 million of Methacton’s expenditure increases, Whiteleather said. Other expenditure increases can be attributed to charter schools and special education funding, he added. Next year’s revenue is expected to only increase by $1.5 million if tax increases are left out of the equation, leaving the proposed preliminary budget with an estimated $3 million deficit, Whiteleather said. Whiteleather predicted that come June, the deficit will not be reflected in the final budget, once the actual numbers for state and federal funding are released, and the preliminary budget is adjusted. Better esti- mates for local revenues will also become available between now and June, he said.
“Unfortunately, tax increases are really the only way to increase dollars into the district,” Whiteleather said.
According to the proposed preliminary budget, the allowable tax increase for Methacton under Pennsylvania’s Act 1 is 2.1 percent.
Besides approving the advertisement of the preliminary budget the board also approved the application for exceptions to Act 1 regarding PSERS and special education, which that would allow the district to raise the tax increase above the Act 1 index without voter referendum. The proposed preliminary budget can be found on the Methacton website under the community resources tab.
Residents who attended Tuesday’s meeting were welcomed by a brassensemble performance by Methacton faculty members Jon Hummel, Brian Leonard, Bret Mascaro, Jeff McCoach and Michele Sinnott. Before any board presentations or action items were heard, first-grade students from the district’s elementary schools presented board members with certificates of recognition for their service to the community. Brave first-graders Owen Blamey, Alisha Khapre, Matthew Nicolson, Olivia Chaya and Dominic Carfagno approached the front of the room and shook hands with board members.
Following the presentation of certificates, the board began a meeting that lasted more than three hours because of the added items from last week’s work session, which was canceled due to the snow.