Forbes Road Board Discusses Budget
Forbes Road School District Superintendent Fred Foster provided the school’s board of directors with a list of budget reduction strategies at their monthly meeting in March. The presentation included his explanation of loss of state revenues as well as the Act 1 limitation on local taxing ability. The Act 1 index is the maximum that taxes can be raised, and the 2011-12 school year maximum is .7008 percent, which would yield about $47,000 for the district. A mill of tax equals $67,000 for the district.
Foster outlined the spending challenges for the district, including: increases in healthcare costs (up 71 percent in the last five years, up 30 percent last year and an expected increase of 11 percent for next year); PSER retirement benefits (double last year from 4.78 to 8.22 percent and expected increases again this year and in 2011-12); and charter school costs could increase if more funding goes to them and/or private vouchers ($216,000 was spent last year).
Foster balanced the increase in expenses with ways in which the school is looking to save money. He said the board will be reviewing transportation expenses with an eye toward perhaps reducing costs by reviewing van and bus routes and by eliminating a Redbird Run. He said the administration and board would also look at Chapter 4 requirements for graduation. He said English composition, literature, biology and Algebra 1 are required, while specialty classes such as art, music, library, physical education, family and consumer science, technology and guidance counselors are not. Other potential savings could be realized by cutting or eliminating extracurricular activities such as athletics, music, band, orchestra, chorus and theater. Foster also talked about potential savings in maintenance, layoffs of support staff positions, furloughs of professional and administrative staff. No formal action was taken on any of the items discussed in the presentation.
Also during regular business at their March meeting, the directors approved the list of taxpayers for exoneration from their per-capita and occupation taxes with the exception of four names, one each in Dublin and Taylor and two in Wells townships.
The board also approved field trips to the circus for kindergarten and first grade and an Elementary Book-It reward to Shippensburg University Planetarium and Cowans Gap State Park. The board also approved curriculums in sixth-grade writing, music, science, math, English, family consumer science and technology.
During miscellaneous business, the board approved an offer from Toby Fritz of Manito Laurel Life Services to provide school-based counseling service to the district at no cost. The 2011-2012 school calendar was also approved as presented.
Personnel decisions included adding Dillen Burger to Dulce Hall’s list of van drivers; adding Heidi McMath to the teacher substitute list; approving Jennifer Miller to replace Carrie Gingerich while she is on leave; and adding Jessica Hall to the substitute list.
The board also heard updates from vo-tech, maintenance/ building and grounds, the elementary school, the junior-senior high school and the school district.
The next negotiation meeting is scheduled for March 21, 2011, and the next regular board meeting is scheduled for April 4, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.