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DV OKs proposed budget

By David Hulse
June 4, 2014

WESTFALL, PA — Meeting in a brief special session, the Delaware Valley (DV) Board of Education last Thursday approved a proposed final 2014-15 budget. The proposal will now be available for public review for 30 days, prior to final approval in June.

The budget calls for $73,275,107 in appropriations, which will require a 2.8% increase in property taxes, equating to a millage rate of 106.07 mills.

That increase was said to amount to $78 increase for a property with an assessed value of $100,000.

The vote was 7 to 1, with only member Jack O’Leary opposed. Member Jessica Decker was absent, attending another school function in Shohola. The vote had been rescheduled for the special meeting when an insufficient quorum was available at the board’s regular meeting on May 15.

The plan includes new spending of $450,000, for anticipated cost increases in construction of a proposed new Career Technical Education (CTE) facility; $250,000 for technology upgrades, $18,910 for implementing plans for a high school marching band; and $12,171 for special education (assuming new state funding).

State aid funding, which remains unresolved, will affect the budget. The district is planning on legislative approval of 75% ($518,314) of the increase in the governor’s proposed block grant of $695,085.

The district has not budgeted the governor’s proposed pension payroll percentage reduction proposal ($353,698 for DV), nor proposed reductions in Cyber School expenses that all districts must pay to cover the cost of students who are enrolled in free online schools.

The budget also assumes borrowing for the beginning of construction of a new DV elementary school this fall. Spring 2015 debt service is to be covered by the existing Internal Service Fund, which would result in a decrease of expenditures to that fund of $137,106.

O’Leary said he opposed the budget because no “on-paper” plans yet exist for the CTE facility and he believes the district already has enough available funding for Public Schools Employee Retirement System costs. Additionally, he said the new band costs were inappropriate in this economy. “The budget had nothing I wanted. I asked for five new reading specialists and 10 math coaches. I got two part-time reading specialists, and only because of retirements.”

The question of Westfall’s proposed withdrawal from the Eastern Pike Regional Police and the consequent loss of local police service was not discussed. “If it happens, we’ll get someone else,” Superintendent John Bell said.

The final budget vote is scheduled for a board meeting on June 26. The June 19 meeting has been cancelled.