Please excuse the sketchy update this morning. Lots of meetings at work today and I have about 10 minutes to write this . . .
The proposed final budget, to be voted on at the May 12th meeting, calls for an average $146 tax increase (3.6%) which is under the Act 1 limit of 4.1%. The anticipated tax reduction from State Gaming Relief is $211 per qualifying home. This means that the average homeowner will see a net reduction in their property taxes of $65. Overall good news, but not perfect.
As Mr. Paradise warned us previously, there is something for everyone to hate in this budget . . .
· Taxpayers – Despite a net reduction in property taxes, some won’t be satisfied until the school budget is completely flat
· Employees – Upwards of 65 staff members will lose their jobs, mostly a result of the 9th grade consolidation into the high school
· Students/Parents – Still up for consideration is a participation fee for extracurricular activities. One proposal is for a flat $65 fee per activity; other suggestions include a tier system of fees based on relative costs to maintain an activity. There is also the possibility that 8th grade foreign languages may be cut for at least one year.
The Participation Fee issue is a real brainer because there doesn’t appear to be a truly equitable way to implement it. As some parents pointed out last night, many of the booster organizations supporting these activities already charge a fee. In the case of music activities, participants already bear the burden of paying for their own musical instruments as opposed to other activities where resources are provided to the students. Board Prez Rich Webb noted that he has seen such participation fees implemented outside of Nehaminy and it didn’t go very well, so he suggested to Paradise that we may have to find the $250,000 revenue generated by the proposed fees somewhere else.
Food Services is asking for permission to raise lunch prices by an average of 20 cents. Several board members asked for additional information so they could better assess the situation.
The vote for the “FINAL” final budget takes place in June.
Here is the Courier Times recap of last night's Board meeting.