Superintendent of Schools Thomas L. Seidenberger tried to put the into black and white terms at last night’s East Penn Board of School Director’s meeting – or black and red to be exact.
“A couple of people asked me to do forecasting during this budget cycle,” Seidenberger said, “but I didn’t put numbers behind the forecasting. I am going to do that tonight.”
Before discussing the 2013-2014 forecast, Seidenberger emphasized that about $4 million of the much-talked-about fund $12 million fund balance is actually being used in the 2012-2013 budget.
But, he would caution against using any more of the remaining $8 million in 2012-2013, since East Penn will be facing some significant budget challenges in 2013-2014, including a maximum 1.7 percent tax index.
“The eligible funds we might be able to raise through taxation are about $1.9 million less that we have this year,” he said.
Seidenberger then ticked off a list of expenses East Penn is already facing for 2013-2014:
- Salaries - $2,208,057
- Retirement (PSERS) - $1,342,921
- Health Insurance - $722,087 (estimated)
- Social Security/Workers’ Compensation - $99,915
- Charter Schools - $716,002
- Transportation $194,124
Plus, he said, everyone still needs to keep in mind the impact of a bevy of budget unknowns ranging from Special Education numbers to real estate tax appeals and the Allentown NIZ (Neighborhood Improvement Zone). Even the recent will play into the 2013-2014 budget, he said.
“When I do those calculations,” Seidenberger said, “we are looking at a minimum deficit of $3.2 million. For that reason alone, I would be reluctant to say ‘hey let’s use more of the fund balance.’
“Let the fund balance alone, next year, we are going to need every tool that we have,” he said.