Budget Presentation Disappoints Reading School Board

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The third time was not the charm.

The Reading School Board held its third budget workshop Wednesday night, and for the third time board members were disappointed.

It wasn’t because of the scope of proposed cuts needed to close a more than $8-million budget gap, but rather because of the lack of information. Again.

Administrators provided the board with a list of proposed changes – ranging from trying to bring some outsourced special education services back to cutting assistant principals from 12-month to 10-month employees – but did not provide a comprehensive plan to balance the budget.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=476031

Reading Schools Begin Pondering $8 Million Budget Gap

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a lot of work still to be done.

Facing a budget gap estimated at about $8 million, that was the overriding message Wednesday night during the first in a series of budget workshops held by the Reading School Board.

Not much new was revealed during the workshop, with Robert Peters, the district’s chief financial officer, simply setting the stage for future budget talks by reviewing the district’s current fiscal status.

Peters said he built the initial $216 million budget – the one with the $8 million hole – without reducing any services or programs.  It includes the maximum allowable tax increase of 2.8 percent, as well as any other projected changes that he could predict to expenditures and revenues.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=465957

Berks School Boards Face More Tough Choices In 2013-14 Budget Process

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s looking like another tough budget season for school districts across Berks County.

Of the 13 local districts that have prepared preliminary budgets, all but one spending plan included significant shortfalls, ranging from about $400,000 to $2.2 million.

Muhlenberg’s budget doesn’t have a gap, but it currently includes a property tax increase larger than the state permits.

Budget gaps among districts can be somewhat hard to compare, because some include tax increases or major cuts in their preliminary budgets while others don’t.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=454915

Daniel Boone School Board Tentatively OKs Drastic Cuts

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Daniel Boone School Board is moving forward with a preliminary 2013-14 budget that includes drastic cuts.

The board voted 6-2 Monday to pass a preliminary $54.9 million budget that closes a nearly $5 million gap by raising taxes the maximum amount, furloughing nearly 40 employees and eliminating kindergarten and all extracurricular activities, including sports.

Board members Connor J. Kurtz and Kevin F. McCullough voted no and Robert D. McLaughlin was absent.

More than 100 residents attended the meeting, with many speaking out against the cuts outlined in the preliminary budget.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=452236

Manheim Township School Board Makes Gene Freeman Highest-Paid Superintendent In Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Manheim Township school board Thursday agreed to limit any tax increase in next year’s budget to 1.7 percent and approved a five-year contract with superintendent Gene Freeman.

The employment agreement, which runs through June 2018, will pay Freeman in excess of $1 million in salary and compensation over five years, making him the highest-paid superintendent in Lancaster County.

The vote on Freeman’s contract was unanimous, as was the vote to keep a possible tax rate increase for 2013-14 at or below the school district’s Act 1 index of 1.7 percent.

That vote marks a return to form for the district, which had stayed within its state-mandated index every year since 2006 until 2011-12, when it boosted taxes by 3.96 percent in the face of a revenue shortfall of about $4.7 million.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/795324_Manheim-Township-school-board-makes-Gene-Freeman-highest-paid-superintendent-in-Lancaster-County.html#ixzz2FhGrLeUd

Reading City Council Approves Budget, Tax Hikes

Editor’s note:  For those folks in Pottstown, please note that Reading is 4 times as large as Pottstown, yet their budget is only twice as big.

City Council on Monday adopted a $77 million budget for 2013, as well as the increases in property, local earned income and commuter taxes needed to make it work.

• The property tax will rise by 9.45 percent, or 1.355 mills, to a total of 15.689 mills.  An owner with a property assessed at $50,000 will pay an extra $67.75.

• The local earned income tax on city residents will rise by 0.2 percentage points to 3.6 percent.  That rate includes the Reading School District‘s share.

• And the commuter tax will rise by the same 0.2 points, to 0.3 percent.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=431486

Governor Mifflin School District Still Grappling With $2 Million Shortfall

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

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Eliminating or curtailing academic programs should only be a last resort for closing the $2.1 million gap in the Gov. Mifflin School District’s draft 2012-13 budget, administrators told school board members Monday.

But if the district wants to keep that option open, it needs to get started soliciting state approval to make program changes.

Administrators suggested that board members vote next week to ask the state’s permission to scale back technical education, world language and family and consumer science programs, eliminating five teaching positions.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=370761

Wilson Board Says Close 2 Schools

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

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After months of listening to parents praise the Lincoln Park and West Wyomissing elementary schools, the Wilson School Board voted 8-1 Monday to close both in June.

The schools are the district’s smallest, but parents who oppose closing them like the neighborhood schools, which they say perform well even if they don’t have the same amenities as the district’s larger schools.

Board members said they had to look at the big picture. Officials said the move will save $500,000 annually and spare the district the expense of millions of dollars in repairs.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=370764

Pennsylvania Government Technology Commission – Strengthening Pennsylvania

PA Capital Complex

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“In September, The Pennsylvania Government Technology Commission was formed specifically to help the Governor-elect and General Assembly tackle the greatest challenges facing Pennsylvania government.”……

This article is worth the read and hopefully this new commission will help Pennsylvania move forward and fulfill its potential!

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Strengthening-Pennsylvania–.html?soid=1101897124228&aid=UgqQEM7QhUE