Despite the fact that the Daniel Boone Area School Board will vote in two weeks on the district’s final budget for 2014-15, there was no discussion Monday night of the cuts that will balance the proposed $53,633,344 budget.
Those cuts include four high school teaching positions — a language arts teacher, a math teacher, half-time of a social studies teacher, half-time of a German teacher — and a fourth grade teacher at Monocacy Elementary Center.
The proposed resolution for the June 23 voting meeting asks the board to “approve the resolution regarding substantial decrease in pupil enrollment, alteration of educational programming, and the suspension of the following professional employees as recommended by the District Administration and presented by the District Solicitor.”
The board unanimously voted May 22 to keep elementary band and basic skills programs with no tax increase.
It had previously approved to keep (half-day) kindergarten, the mid-day kindergarten bus run, sports, (high school) music, and to not close any school buildings for 2014-15.
The board balanced the budget on May 22 with the proposal to use $330,000 of bond swap revenue, $100,000 in Title I grant funds for a basic reading skills salary (and a new day instead of after-school program), as well as $1.1 million of the district’s $3.4 million fund balance, and no tax increase.
Board members were split 5-4 on May 22 whether the 2014-15 budget is the time for new revenue from a tax increase to restore money to the fund balance and also prepare the district for a PSERs (state retirement fund) increase next year from 21.4 percent to 25 percent.
The last millage increase was a .54 tax levy in June 2011, which increased the millage rate from 28.42 to the current 28.96 mills.
A 3.97 percent increase would raise the millage rate from 28.9618 to 30.1118 mills — an additional $137 for a property assessed at about $100,000, and raise about $1,108,000.
Residents said May 22 they were surprised to learn that elementary encore classes are down from 45 minutes to 20 minutes due to previous program curtailments.
No members of the public spoke to the board June 9 with opinions regarding proposed budget cuts or taxes.
The board will be asked to approve on June 23 the resignation of Music/Band Director Justin McAdams, which will be effective June 12.
District Superintendent Marybeth Torchia said the position has been posted and she hopes to have a recommendation for the June 23 meeting.
She said administration is also interviewing six district employees at the Birdsboro Elementary School to possibly fill its principal position.
Filling the position from within the district could result in retaining one of the teachers listed for suspension.
Board member Carol Beitz proposed that the board approve services provided by the Pennsylvania School Board Association for a “comprehensive review” of handbooks, some of the district’s older un-reviewed policies, contracts, as well as previous board meeting minutes, at a cost of $7,300.
Laurel Reno, Douglassville, said that money would be better spent to increase the salary of a district administrator who hasn’t had a salary increase for three years. She said that administrator’s salary is $18,000 below the next lowest salary.