Palmerton is 3rd to question CCTI budget
Like Weatherly and Lehighton school districts before them, Palmerton Area School District is pumping the brakes on passing Carbon Career and Technical Institute’s 2019-20 budget.
Palmerton on Tuesday night unanimously tabled CCTI’s spending plan, totaling $8.52 million, until it can hear a presentation from the school’s business manager outlining its budgeting practices.
The decision came on the heels of Weatherly board President Girard Fewins stating, “we’re not getting our bang for the book,” and Lehighton administrators noting concerns over the amount of money in CCTI’s fund balance.
“I’d like them to come here and justify their fund balance,” Palmerton director Barry Scherer said. “The budgeting does not make sense.”
At the most recent CCTI joint operating committee meeting, Lehighton Superintendent Jonathan Cleaver requested a reduction of 10 percent in light of what he called “an excessive fund balance” in the CCTI budget. Cleaver referred to information that is available on the Future Ready PA website (https://futurereadypa.org). He specifically cited the CCTI general fund balance of $5,036,790.
Each year, the budget is sent to the sending districts, Palmerton, Lehighton, Panther Valley, Jim Thorpe and Weatherly, for approval.
Palmerton board member Kathy Fallow, who is on the CCTI JOC, said CCTI business manager Jeffrey Deutsch warned of an operational budget deficit and a likely substantial increase to sending schools if the budget were to be cut by 10 percent for each school.
“The budget overall has not increased to sending schools for the past six years and CCTI has been drawing down its fund balance,” Fallow said. “I don’t think the taxpayers want to be subjected to a major increase next year.
Palmerton Director Josh Smale said he would also like to see a CCTI budget presentation.
“I always thought a fund balance at 12 percent of your budget was lofty,” he said.
Palmerton’s board president, Kate Baumgardt, abstained from a vote on the CCTI budget as the school employs her.