Take our Poll: Do you Favor a Zero-Tax East Penn Budget?

The 2012-2013 East Penn School District Budget approved Monday night includes a 1.9 percent tax hike, but there were other zero-tax options on the table.

The approved Monday night a preliminary final 2012-2013 budget that includes a hike in a 5-4 vote that followed, what the Express-Times describes as “hours of, at times, acrimonious discussion.”

The dissenting votes in the end came from Directors Lynn Donches, Rebecca Heid, Michael Policano and Julian Stolz. Donches, Heid and Stolz each proposed amended versions of the administration’s proposed budget that failed to gain traction during the meeting.

Donches proposed a spending plan with no tax increase, stating that East Penn should be spending more of the district's fund balance to bridge the budget gap.

Heid suggested using a $1,250,294 construction reimbursement from the state instead of depleting the fund balance to offset 2012-13 taxes. That money is currently slated for a 2013-14 pension payment.

Stolz advocated a budget plan that combined aspects of Donches' and Heid's proposals.

All three proposals failed before the administration's proposed budget was ultimately approved.

East Penn will vote on the final budget for 2012-2013 on June 25. The state of Pennsylvania mandates that final school budgets be adopted by June 30.

Chuck Ballard June 23, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Neither I, nor any individual member of the board, 'instructs the superintendent'. A board vote tells the superintendent what to do. I made my comment that using 4.1 million was dangerous. Using more of the fund balance than that would be suicidal. I was also quoted on that comment in the news also. Using one-time funds other than the fund balance to do anything with the budget is just plain stupid. The final budget hasn't been proposed or voted upon yet. You may have to live with danger. You don't have to live with stupidity.
ted.dobracki June 23, 2012 at 12:32 PM
I don't really believe that the administration is proposing a budget that plan would spend $4 million of the fund balance, or that the school board would approve such foolishness. At the May school board meeting, Mr. Alan Earnshaw said that they are planning the $10 million balance (a one-time resource) in less than 3 years, and I read in the paper that the superintendent echoed with similar remarks at the first June meeting. If true, that in itself would be disasterous and suicidal. But that is exactly what is in the budget. In fact, it could be worse if they need to spend any of the reserve. But, I DON'T THINK THIS IS THE REAL PLAN. There's more to this than meets the eye. After all, the budget approved last year (for the school year now ending) also had an alleged $3+ million dollar deficit, and the one before that had a $2+ million deficit, even if none of the $5+ million of the reserve was spent in either year. Has EPSD really been spending down the fund balance every year? If so, it would all be gone by now! It isn't. EPSD projects a $10 million begining balance this year, even though last years budget showed ending with only $0.02 millionalong with a $5 million reserve. How is that happening? One can only conclude that it's doubtful that any of the stated $4 million deficit will be spent next year. Nor will any of the official $6 million reserve be spent, either, since it is rarely touched.
ted.dobracki December 06, 2012 at 02:38 AM
New info: Ending fund balance for EPSD in 2011-2012 is $15.04 million, adding $3.23 million 2011-12 operating surplus to its beginning fund balance of $11.81 million. This is in spite of the facts that the 2011-12 budget showed a $3 million deficit (actually almost $9 million, if you include the $5.7 million reserve). The results show a $3 million surplus, instead. Looking forward, the 2012-13 budget shows a $10 million deficit, which includes a $6 million reserve that isn't intended to be spent. Making predictions can be dangerous, but based on recent history, the remaining $4 million deficit will almost surely turn into a multi-million dollar surplus again, and a $16-18 million fund balance at the end of 2012-13 is not out ouf the question. (Last spring, I predicted $14 million, and new numbers that have been published recent exceeded my expectations by $1 million). This is in direct contradiction to comments made by some on the board, who said that the fund balance would be consumed in less than 3 years under the budget that the board approved. Do they truely understand the implications of what they are saying? Are they that clueless? Or are they trying to create a false impression of dire circumstances?
Steve Godusky December 07, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Great comment. These people like to make comments but hide behind screen names, how cowardly.
ted.dobracki December 07, 2012 at 04:32 AM
@giovanni - good point about rebating excess fund balance. the school board wouldn't need to cut taxes to do that which could put them behind the eight-ball due to the index limitation, which might not allow them to catch back up the next year. In fact, the board could raise taxes by the index amount to keep revenue matched with spending and simultaneously rebate the excess fund balance, if it was deemed to be too high. Two separate transactions, but put it all on he same bill, so it doesn't cost anything to execute, like mailing a rebate check would. Indeed, the Lehigh COunty executive made a very similar proposal in his initial budget proposal during the summer. He called it an expiring tax credit. See:http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/index.ssf/2012/08/lehigh_county_no_tax_increase.html


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