Pleasant Valley School directors approved the proposed final budget for the 2012-2013 school year at the May 10 school board meeting, but it required using money from the district's fund balance.
Board president Thomas Murphy read a prepared release by Dr. Douglas Arnold, superintendent, stating that the new budget, with millage of 147.7682, shows an increase of 1.7522 mills, or a 1.2 percent increase over the current budget.
This budget, according to Dr. Arnold's statement, maintains current programming for school district students, takes into account the severe shortfall in state funding, and accounts for meeting financial responsibilities for students in charter schools and special needs students. To arrive at the proposed millage in the new budget, $4.7 million in fund balance will be used to help mitigate the tax increase.
This 1.2 percent tax increase means the average tax bill will be $3,051 and the average increase will be $36, based on a home with an average assessed value of $20,650.
"Over the past few years PV has worked hard to contain costs, doing such things as reconfiguring the school district, refinancing bonds, subcontracting transportation, condensing and eliminating bus runs, securing grant monies, increasing ACCESS reimbursements, creating the PV Cyber Academy, creating the I.C.E. program, closing Eldred Elementary and Chestnuthill Elementary Schools, eliminating staff positions (this includes a total of 83 professional, administrative and support staff positions over the past few years), using in-house trainers for staff development, instituting a four day summer workweek to save on utility costs, implementing in-house printing, joining purchasing consortiums, stressing energy conservation (e.g., lighting, heating and cooling)-including entering into a performance contract- and reducing paper consumption," Murphy stated.
"Taking these steps and more has allowed the school district to create a financial situation whereby funds are available to lessen the impact of such deleterious circumstances as the continued shortfall in state funding. However, it is important to note that a sustained shortfall in state funding will eventually cause significant financial hardship on the school district and will seriously affect the education received by the children of Pleasant Valley," he added.
Susan Famularo, business manager, said the district's fund balance will be depleted by the year 2015.
Maryanne Clausen, Eldred Township resident, expressed her opinion and concerns regarding the proposed budget, asking the board to examine staffing numbers with regards to the decrease in student enrollment. She also questioned why the salary line item on the proposed budget increased. Dr. Arnold said perhaps her questions would be answered in the presentation that followed.