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Seidenberger: EPSD Must Save for Rainy Days

Superintendent of Schools Thomas L. Seidenberger says the East Penn School District is facing a minimum $3.2 million shortfall in 2013-2014 when the budget process starts in September.

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.

optimist June 14, 2012 at 10:03 PM
I think your values are easy to see. Thanks for the spelling lesson. By the way takin should spelled taking. I have not seen anybody crying poverty so I guess that's more rhetoric. Good stuff though. If you spread enough hatred and blame so many other things easily fall into place. We will be Mississippi before you know it.
Macungie resident June 15, 2012 at 02:04 PM
I’ll tell you one way the district can save a little money. Enforce a call-out policy like the rest of us workers have to abide by. Then they won’t have to pay so much for substitutes along with the teachers salaries. Willow Lane teachers take off VERY FREQUENTLY. Why is this ok with Dr. Moyer? My son’s 5th grade teacher had 1 ½ months off for a family emergency back in Nov/December. She then took many sick days off throughout the spring, and actually WENT ON VACATION 2 weeks before her SUMMER VACATION. My daughter’s 3rd grade teacher was absent so much that even my 9 year old was questioning why she was able to be out so much without “getting into trouble.” She was out once a week, easily. Why is this ok? I would have been fired a long time ago. Yet they remain secure in their jobs, making a very nice salary/pension. Should I question Dr. Moyer or the superintendant about this?
Robert Sentner June 15, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Tenure........was what I was talking about in a previous post, there are some fantastic teachers that deserve everything they get and MORE, and there are some that should be fired on the spot. Not saying that this teacher should be fired as I do not know the circumstances, But I am sure it cost the east penn tax payers a bundle.
Jeff Lotte June 17, 2012 at 09:28 PM
LOL! This just is not worth any more of my time.Things in this young nation have about run full circle in 250 years. We will either fail as a free nation or we will be forced to stand up and once again fight for freedom from oppressive government. see ya on the front lines cowboy! LMAO
ted.dobracki March 28, 2013 at 03:51 AM
As we enter the final, more public, stages of the 2013-14 budget planning cycle, it's appropriate to re-examine how every year EPSD pleads that they are using the fund balance or reserves to balance the budget. But is that really true? As you can see from my remarks above (the first comment under the original article), I questioned the wisdom using $4 million of the fund balance, if that was really true. Why would presumably responsible board members like Mr. Earnshaw point this out and do nothing about it except to complain that a $4 million deficit was better than a $5 million deficit under a zero tax increase budget? As I said then, there's more to it than meets the eye. And here is some: In their last three budgets, EPSD says they have planned $2.7 million, $3.1 million, and $4.0 deficits, while in the first two of those years, the surplus has been $1.7 million and $3.2 million. (the final budget year is still in progress is still in progress, and results will probably be similar) I'd be the first to say that a decent fund balance is important and a falling fund balance would be an indication of problems, but neither is the case. In just the two last completed years, the culmulative $4.9 million surplus has allowed the EPSD's fund balance to increase from $10.1 million to $15.0 million, while they are claiming poverty, invoking pay freezes and reductions in services. Both taxpayers and parents should be alarmed about the priorities.

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