Dr. Douglas Arnold, Pleasant Valley School District superintendent and Susan Famularo, PVSD business manager, gave a 2011-2012 budget presentation at the last PVSD school board meeting.

Dr. Arnold stated some of the issues the district is facing that affects the budget are: the drastic reduction in state funding; the costs for special needs students; cyber/charter schools; high utility costs; the projected increase to the retirement system (PSERS); the research-based programs as per NCLB/ESEA; the real estate tax collection rate; contractual implications; technology; instructional material/textbooks; Monroe County Technical Institute, Colonial Academy and others; security; and the use of the fund balance to reduce millage.

Funding sources for the 2011-2012 budget is broken down to 57.7 percent comes from local funding, 34.7 percent from state funding, 1.4 percent from Federal funding and the use of $5.88 million fund for 6.2 percent.

The new budget has a proposed 2.726 mill increase.

That is a 1.9 percent increase which results in 146.016 mills.

State funding amounts are still uncertain.

The budget reflects the governor's figures and at this time does not include gaming funds.

The Basic Education Funding has been reduced by $2,163,000.

The PA-PACT funding, an accountability Block Grant and Educational Assistance Program has been eliminated resulting in a loss of $1,429,000.

The Special Education Funding, which is funded at the rate in the governor's proposed budget, provides no increase.

Charter School Funding is cut by $442,450 in the proposed governor's budget.

Broken down in a pie chart, Revenues shows the largest section is 50 percent from real estate taxes; 22 percent from Basic Instructional and Operating Subsidy; 9 percent from other state revenue; 6 percent from use of fund balance; 6 percent from other local income; 3 percent from revenue for specific educational programs, 3 percent from Act 511 taxes; 1 percent from Federal revenue.

In expenditures, there was an increase in:

*salaries-$1,529,000

*retirement-$222,000

*other professional services-$1,144,000

*transportation services-$22,000

*Charter School tuition-$570,000

*Other tuition-$81,000

*Monroe County Technical Institute-$148,000

*Dues and fees/contingency /miscellaneous-$3,000

In expenditures, there was a decrease in:

*Other benefits-$957,000

*IU Special Education Services-$764,000

*Purchased property services-$46,000

*Other purchased services-$13,000

*Supplies-$165,000

*Equipment/buildings-$142,000

*Debt service-$475,000

Committed expenses, like contracts (salaries), fuel, debt, electric, MCTI, cyber schools totals $89,681,281, or 96 percent. Discretionary items such as supplies, textbooks, field trips and repairs makes up $3,472,588, or four percent.

Famularo said that the districts revenues does not meet its expenditures and the district will be out of money by 2013.

The Gambling and Property Tax Relief amount certified for PV in 2011-2012 is $4,062,758.17 and will be available to taxpayers through the homestead/farmstead approval process. It has not yet be incorporated into the budget.

The deadline for applications was March 2011. Those approved after that date will be included for the 2012 tax year.

There will be no refund checks distributed. Instead, funds will be reflected on the Aug. 1, 2011 school property tax bill in the form of an "exclusion" from the assessed value and an "exclusion" from total due.

How does the tax reduction process work?

For the 2011-2012 year, if the tax assessment is $20,500, at 2011-2012 millage rate of 146.016 mills, the base tax due is $2,993.33.

If you receive a Homestead Exclusion of $3,061 on $20,500 tax assessment, the net assessed value is $17,439.

That $17,439 at the 2011-2012 millage rate of 146.016 mills results in the base tax due of $2,546.37, at a net total tax reduction of $446.96.

If the assessed value of a property is less than the homestead/farmstead exclusion amount, tax relief is provided for the entire amount of the tax bill.

For those taxpayers with a homestead and a farmstead, separate exclusions will be applied to lower assessed value.

The report stated what the school board has done to work at lowering the budget.

It has eliminated 52 positions in the last few years, have not added any new positions for the 2011-2012 year, monitored expenditures, became a member of multiple consortia, participated in health insurance trusts, instituted a safety committee, employed a cautious approach to facility planning, refinanced debt, created PV Cyber Academy, subcontracted transportation and cut/modified runs, closed Eldred Elementary, increased ACCESS reimbursement, instituted a 4-day summer workweek, stressed energy conservation, gone to in-house printing, sought grant monies, eliminated staff positions, offered retirement incentives, negotiated fair contracts and updated polices.

The district encourages citizens to attend school board meetings to learn about the school district and offer constructive suggestions, contact legislators to thank them for their support, when appropriate and urge them to continue support for public education.

If you would like to address any questions or concerns, go to www.pvbears.org.

The final budget will be voted on at the next school board meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 23, 8 p.m. at the administration building at PVMS along Rt. 115, Brodheadsville.