Reading School District Running Deficit Of Nearly $1 Million

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

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

Four months into the 2013-14 fiscal year, the Reading School District is already running at a nearly $1 million deficit, the school board learned Monday night.

Robert Peters, chief financial officer, presented the board with a status update on the 2013-14 budget at a committee of the whole meeting.

He said unexpected increases in expenses and decreases in revenues have the district facing a $952,000 deficit.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=517608

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Reading School District’s Bond Rating Dropped

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

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

The Reading School District has faced some major financial challenges lately, and it’s not going unnoticed.

Citing budget struggles and a $15 million accounting mistake discovered last year, Moody’s Investors Service, a major credit-rating firm, has lowered two district bond ratings by two levels.

Moody’s announced last week the district’s underlying general obligation rating was lowered to Baa2 from A3, and its enhanced rating was lowered to A3 from A1.

The outlook for both ratings, a release from Moody’s says, is negative.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=502171

Last-Minute Budget Proposal Includes 2 Cuts

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

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

Dr. Carlinda Purcell waited until the very last minute – literally.

At 4:59 p.m., just moments before a 5 p.m. deadline, the Reading School District superintendent sent an email to school board members with a proposal to close a gap in the district’s 2013-14 budget.

The deadline was set at a meeting Tuesday night after Purcell told the board the $213.6 million budget that was passed June 28 had a $180,000 hole.  The announcement drew criticism from board members frustrated by the budget process and a demand that the administration fix the problem by the end of the business day Wednesday.

James Washington II, board vice president, confirmed he received an email from Purcell at 4:59 p.m.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=493735

Reading School Board Uses Deep Staff Cuts To Balance Budget

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

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

The Reading School District‘s long and winding road to closing a more than $13 million gap in its 2013-14 budget has finally come to an end.
In a process fraught with frustrations, surprises and boiling tempers, the final act provided more of the same.

Apologizing to the staff, students and public for an experience they called “deficient,” “baffling” and “sad,” the Reading School Board approved the $213.6 million spending plan Friday night at the end of a 4 1/2-hour meeting.  But not without some fireworks first.

Coming into the night, the district was already faced with a more than $300,000 deficit after deciding Wednesday night not to cut kindergarten to half-day and not to raise the property tax from its current rate of 16.92 mills.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=489178

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

Reading School District Budget Outlook Not Good

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

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

The Reading School District isn’t likely to get any relief from the financial straits that have led the district to cut programs, layoff staff and close schools.

Robert Peters, the district’s chief financial officer, provided the school board with an initial overview of the district’s 2013-14 budget process at a meeting Wednesday night. And the outlook doesn’t appear good.

The district, like others across the state, will yet again be facing increasing expenses with little hope of jumps in revenue.

Peters said increases in pension contributions will probably cost the district about an extra $2.5 million next year, and health care costs will likely increase somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=421733

Reading School District Debt Called Near Its Limit

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

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

The financial picture for the Reading School District isn’t pretty.

That news should come as no surprise as the district is fresh off a rough budget process that saw dozens of employees laid off and five schools closed.

But exactly where the district stands may not have been crystal clear.

That’s why the business office put together a special presentation this week to fill the Reading School Board in on the district’s financial trends.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=412937

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