Drop In Enrollment At Kutztown University Twice That Of State System

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

Almost 300 fewer students enrolled in Kutztown University in September compared to the previous year.

Since a 2010 peak, Kutztown’s enrollment has dropped 12 percent. The enrollment decline at Kutztown is twice the average drop – 6 percent – seen by the 13 other schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

All 14 state universities have been hard hit by funding cuts that usually mean more layoffs and program cuts.

Despite the drop in enrollment at Kutztown, there are no program cuts or layoffs contemplated for the coming school year, university spokesman Matt Santos said Monday.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=515881

Daniel Boone Schools Eye Potential $3.6M Budget Shortfall

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

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

BIRDSBORO, PA — Kindergarten, sports and other large expenditure items will likely be recommended once again for cuts in the Daniel Boone Area School District, the school board president warns.

Board President Andrew Basile, who also serves as chairman of the board’s finance committee, said reduction or elimination of those programs would be one option for the board to reduce an anticipated $3.6 million budget deficit for the 2014-15 school year.

The district avoided steep cuts in programs and activities this year by dipping into its budget reserves.

Dennis Younkin, the district’s interim business manager, provided the finance committee with an updated Act 1 Timeline for 2014-15, a five-year budget analysis, and a 2014-15 proposed budget.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/social-affairs/20130926/daniel-boone-schools-eye-potential-36m-budget-shortfall

Pottsgrove School District Mulls $61 Million Budget With 3.3% Tax Hike

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LOWER POTTSGROVE TOWNSHIP— Facing a potential budget shortfall of $1.9 million, the Pottsgrove School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to advertise a proposed $60.9 million budget for the 2013-14 school year that would raise taxes by $155 for the average district homeowner.

However, those figures are unlikely to remain unchanged until June, when all final school budgets must be adopted.

The district is working under the constraints of Act 1, which requires a district to either declare it will not raise taxes above a state set index — as Pottstown did last month in committing to keep any tax increase at or below 2.4 percent — or advertise a preliminary budget.

The Pottsgrove board chose the second option, voting to advertise a preliminary budget presented publicly for the first time Tuesday night by Business Manager David Nester.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130125/NEWS01/130129618/pottsgrove-mulls-61-million-budget-with-3-3-tax-hike#full_story

Pink Slips For 18 More Reading School District Workers

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

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

The ax has fallen on the final two groups of Reading School District employees facing layoffs as a result of the district’s budget crunch.

Eighteen more employees have received furlough notices: 12 security guards and six members of the Teamsters union, Karen B. Gokay, director of human resources, confirmed Tuesday.

The cuts are part of an effort to close a more than $40 million shortfall in the district’s $220 million 2012-13 budget.

The district announced that positions would be cut when the school board passed its tentative final budget last month.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=396180

State Senator Judy Schwank Says State Could Help Reading City Schools

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

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

Facing an overwhelming budget crisis, the Reading School District would accept help from the state, according to a local legislator.

State Sen. Judy Schwank on Tuesday sent a letter to Ron Tomalis, state secretary of education, in support of state assistance in preparing the district’s 2012-13 budget.

“It is my position that the school board directors cannot make the difficult decisions they must make in constructing the 2012-13 budget until they have full confidence in the accuracy of the current fiscal data for the district,” wrote Schwank, a Ruscombmanor Township Democrat.

Representatives from the Department of Education were unavailable for comment.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=386455

Reading City Schools Finances Not So Dire, Officials Say

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

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

The budget outlook in the Reading School District isn’t good, but it’s not quite as bad as originally advertised, district officials said Wednesday night.

The Reading School Board held a public budget meeting at Reading High School, providing the dozens of parents, teachers, students and others who attended an update on the 2012-13 budget and a chance to speak about potential cuts.

From the outset, administrators and board members challenged the picture painted by former administrators – eight of whom were fired two weeks ago – that the district is facing a $53 million budget shortfall.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=385317

Governor Mifflin School District Still Grappling With $2 Million Shortfall

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

Image via Wikipedia

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

Early Budget Shows Difficulty Quakertown SD Faces

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Bucks County

Image via Wikipedia

Quakertown Community School Board reviewed an early 2012-13 budget that would require a 3 percent tax hike to maintain district programs and staffing.

The $93.6 million budget calls for raising taxes by 4.23 mills to 144.48 mills.  That means a property owner with the district’s average assessment of $26,304, would pay about $3,801 — about $112 more — in property taxes.  A mill is worth $1 for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value.

“This is a status quo budget.  There are no new initiatives, no new programs, and no new spending,” Superintendent Lisa Andrejko told directors on Thursday.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-quakertown-school-board-0105-20120106,0,677133.story

Wilkes-Barre Area School District Has As Many Elementary Schools As Pottstown

Here is another example that demonstrates Pottstown School District has too many elementary schools.  Wilkes-Barre Area School District has 9 schools.  Five elementary schools, one junior high and three high schools.  The enrollment for Wilkes-Barre Area is approximately 6700 students or about twice as many as Pottstown.  Very similar to Norristown Area School District, which I profiled the other day.

Elementary schools are K – 6th grades.

The Solomon/Plains Junior High School is 7th & 8th grades only. 

There are three high schools.  It was just announced that Wilkes-Barre Area is looking at possibily closing one of the three high schools (Meyers High School which has the lowest student population of the three with 840 students in grades 9 – 12 is being studied for closure).

The Wilkes-Barre Area School District encompasses 123 square miles and only has five elementary schools.  I would think a borough of 5 square miles, with half  of the student population of Wilkes-Barre Area, could easily get away with three elementary schools.

District data from Wikipedia and GreatSchools.org

Cumberland Valley School District Considers Larger Elementary Classroom Size

The Cumberland Valley School District is facing a $6.7 million budget shortfall for the 2011-2012 school year but is not considering redistricting or closing schools.  However, there are 17 teachers retiring who may not be replaced and that would lead to larger elementary class sizes.  Hiring nine new teachers would cost the school district $1 million and is part of a possible compromise plan to keep class sizes below a certain level.

The board does not want to increase taxes and is looking at all options to cut spending, including teacher and administrator wage freezes.  If teachers took a one year wage freeze it would save the district $1 million.  Teachers have not volunteered to do so at this time.  Administration wage freezes would save the district $177,000.  The board is also shelving a contract that would have given teachers 3.15 percent raises over the next four years.  The board will begin renegotiating with the teachers unions.

The Cumberland Valley School District is located on Harrisburg’s West Shore with the principal town being Mechanicsburg.  The district has about 7,800 students.  There are seven elementary schools, two middle schools, a high school and some administration buildings.  The district was recognized in 2007 for the number of students achieving high PSSA scores and having a relatively low per-pupil expenditure.  In 2011 Cumberland Valley was ranked 23rd out of Pennsylvania’s 498 school districts.

Pennsylvania Experiences Revenue Decrease For October

Some disappointing financial news for Pennsylvania.  Revenue collected for October was 3.2% below projections, which translates to $57 million dollars less than expected for the month.  $44 million of the shortfall was in the personal income tax category.

We aren’t out of the woods yet!

Fast Eddie Update

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell at the Broad ...

Image via Wikipedia

Our illustrious and soon-to-be ex-governor, Ed Rendell, has announced that only 100 Commonwealth employees will be laid-off as a result of the “budget” passed by the state legislature which counted on money before it was allocated.  Always a bright move!

Fortunately, so many people retired that it cut the number of employees needing furloughed from 1,000 to 100.

Rendell is proposing more spending cuts and taxes to make up for the budget shortfall he and the legislature created by including federal stimulus money in the budget before it was approved on Capitol Hill.

Looking forward to January 1st!  We won’t miss ya Ed.

Pennsylvania Infrastructure Funding Shortfall May Force ‘Tough Decisions’

Interesting article from the Centre Daily Times regarding what will happen to our roads with the end of the federal stimulus dollars and the defeat of tolling Interstate 80.  Some tough decisions are ahead on how to fund everything that needs to be done!

via State infrastructure funding shortfall may force ‘tough decisions’ – Local | Centre Daily Times – State College, PA | Penn State, Nittany Lions, weather, news, jobs, homes, apartments, real estate.

Tom Hylton’s Latest Plan

Where to begin….. yesterday we were treated to yet another paid propaganda fest in the Mercury from Mr. Hylton defending his plan to chop away at the school district staff. 

Frankly, I find these ads annoying.  It’s overkill.  What other school board member is putting paid ads in the Mercury to garner support for their ideas?  Hello!  None!

Before we go whacking away at the staff, we better be darn sure any decisions we make are not going to jeopardize our children’s education and safety.  There are state and federal guidelines regarding required staffing for things like Special Education.  As we discovered in the past, what Mr. Hylton thinks he knows isn’t always correct.  Case in point, the recent Sunshine Law debacle he created.

Again, why exactly are why relying on Tom Hylton’s say so?  We have an administrative staff that seems to be constantly ignored when it comes to making decisions about PSD.  These are trained professionals whose job it is to be well versed in curriculum, staffing and other educational requirements.  It would appear Mr. Hylton seems to routinely circumvent these people.

This situation is out of control.  Mr. Hylton seems to be constantly over-stepping his bounds.  Something needs to drastically change here!