Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Finally, a responsible budget

The final board meeting of the 2007/2008 school year ended on a good note. Without using any of the available exemptions under Act 1 constraints, Superintendent Kadri proudly unveiled a 2008/2009 budget which remained within the 4.4% inflationary limit. A couple of board members didn’t feel this budget did enough to cut expenses, but I strongly disagree considering the following:

* For the first time in many years, our operational expenditures actually decreased.
* Only $3.7 million of the projected $6.5 million fund balance is being used to offset budget increases, leaving $2.8 million in reserve. For 2007/2008, $7 million of the available $9 million was budgeted, leaving only $2 million in budgeted reserve. So we’re spending less and saving more.
* This amazing budgeting feat was accomplished despite drastic reductions in investment market income, soaring fuel costs which added nearly $1 million more in expense, and over $2 million in contractual payouts to the large number of retirees.
* The best part is that no educational programs were cut as a result of this budget.

Certainly there is more that can be accomplished in future budgets, but Mr. Kadri and his staff did an amazing job despite a rigorously challenging school year that included building closures, redistricting, teacher contract negotiations, and the ongoing high school renovation. If I started to applaud individuals, I would undoubtedly leave someone off the list. So let me personally thank everyone in Neshaminy administration who contributed to all that was accomplished. We certainly had a tumultuous, often controversial year, but your efforts have allowed us to end things on a very positive note.

Here’s looking forward to 2008/2009!

Here is a link to a Courier Times article regarding passing of next year's budget.


i must be living in jersey said...

Wow, the spending budget is actually less next year than this year. Where are all those people who criticized Kadri now? Sounds like he's doing a pretty fine job to me.

the grade is in said...

It's time for report cards and it looks like another 'A+ grade' for Kadri.

pianomom said...

All this was accomplished by a man that some on our board, and apparently within the district, are trying to run out of town. I think this dstrict is so resistant to change that they will oppose anyone who tries to bring about reform in the work place. I'm crossing my fingers that this successful budget will help to mend fences between Mr. Kadri and the board.

Anonymous said...

The spending is less due to a building closure and retirements, period. It is not due to Mr. Kadri changing the spending habits of the district.

William O'Connor said...

It's really due to both, Anonymous. No doubt the building closure had the greatest single impact, but I'm looking at 4 pages worth of budget cuts involving nearly 150 items having nothing to do with Neshaminy Middle. Many of these items are small dollar ($500 - $2000), and many others are greater (up to $125,000). When 80% of your budget is labor/benefits associated with staff and other teaching resources, and much of the rest is for building operation and maintenance, it's difficult to find substantive reductions elsewhere. But I think it's pretty safe to say that Mr. Kadri and Mr. Paradise left no stones unturned with this budget. That's not to say that we can't do more in the next budget cycle, but we should take some measure of pride that we're heading in the right direction.

TFR1984 said...

Why is anonymous trying to take away from Kadri's success? Probably one of those people who would be blaming Kadri exclusively if the budget weren't a success. If the PSSA scores come back with an increase, you'll claim Kadri had nothing to do with that either, right? This is really eating you up inside, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to bet that the PSSA scores will show an increase of significance which Mr Kadri and his cabinet/administrators/staff should be proud of. As Mr O Connor has stated the budget is a great starting point and it does show some movement in the right direction. Hopefully Mr Kadri and Mr Paradise can build on this and keep moving the district forward both educationally and financially. The key to this budget and future budgets as anonymous has stated is efficient building utilization and as Mr O Connor has stated the board must tame future contracts.

Pianomom said...

What gave me the most hope is the way the board conducted business these past few meetings. Differences of opinion were debated with respect to each other. This last meeting could have been a disaster if the board behaved like they were several months ago. I liked the way William said that the board's problems haven't gone away but they've found a way to work through them.
If the board can keep this same focus in September and continue to work with our Superintendent, we may see many more positive things happening.
Enjoy your summer Mr. O'Connor