Brandywine Heights School District anticipates an easy budget process for 2014-15, according to Superintendent Andrew Potteiger.
Potteiger believes that the board will be able to make executive decisions to create a balanced budget for the coming year.
“I was very favorable towards the responses from the board tonight in terms of the way we’re going to approach this, so I foresee that being a lot smoother process,” he said.
Brandywine Heights Area School District Board members met for the second time to discuss a general overview of the budget for the 2014-15 school year on Jan. 27. The preliminary budget was the main topic of the meeting.
The main concern of the board is the Public School Employee’s Retirement System (PSERS), which is the retirement system for all employees who work for the school district. According to Potteiger, the system lost a lot of money when the stock market fell, and now needs make up for the money lost. Both employees and the school district must pay a percentage of the retirement, which is difficult because they are also concerned with other expenses such as electric, oil and salaries.
“That’s why the retirement is such a big issue because for us it’s a $400,000 deal every single year,” said Potteiger.
The rest of the meeting dealt with revenues and expenses anticipated for the 2014-15 year. “The first part of the meeting was to give the board and the community an understanding of what the revenues are,” said Potteiger. “We looked at what are the local tax revenues, how much we expect to get from the state, and how much we expect to get from the federal government.”
“The jist of the meeting was to set the tone,” said Potteiger. “Where do we get money from and what are our big picture expenses.”
The 2014-15 budget is essentially the same as from last year. Potteiger mentions that the only new initiative is the technology for the ninth through twelfth grade students. “We rolled out a one to one tablet initiative in our K-8 student body this past year, and we are looking to expand that tablet initiative into our high school for a 9 through 12 tablet deployment for 2014-15,” said Potteiger.
He also mentions that there is money set aside for maintenance projects to sustain buildings. “These projects are budgeted and are planned for the next few years to sustain the functionality of the building,” he said. “One example is we will be finishing a macadam project at our middle school this year if approved.”
According to Potteiger, the administration is presenting a few different budgets to the board.
“This first is reductions that are within our means, but basically a budget that is the same as last year for this coming year,” said Potteiger. “This basically means sustaining the programs, sustaining the staff members who are appropriate and keeping, running and maintaining the same program that the school had last year.”
“The second budget that was mentioned dealt with administrative reductions. That would mean providing cuts to come in with a balanced budget,” he said.
“In the past, there have been many discussions as to how to approach different topics in the budget and what specifically to cut,” he said. “However, this time recommendations of what should be cut are being presented to the board that will equal the amount needed for a balanced budget.”
According to Potteiger, as of now, there are no specific cuts being made to the budget, however the board will be presented with ideas of what should be cut.
“In the past we have had a lot of discussions about, ‘well, should we use this cut or that cut’, and now we’re kind of coming and saying here’s the cuts we’re recommending, which will equal the amount that we need, which I think will make a much smoother process, and that is what I’m looking for,” said Potteiger.
Alyssa Shields is an intern at Berks-Mont Newspapers.