Brandywine approves 2014-15 preliminary budget

Brandywine Heights School Board approved the preliminary budget Feb. 10 with the option to raise taxes.

The board approved the Preliminary General Fund Budget for fiscal year July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 with expenditures totaling $30,583,389 and authorized the Business Manager to apply for referendum exceptions from the PA Department Education.

“What this means is that the school district now has options for taxing after they apply to the state to exceed the Act 1 index through tax exceptions,” said Superintendent Andrew Potteiger. “The only exception we have available in our district is for the increase in employer share for the retirement contribution.”

“Basically, the action by the Board kept the options open for the school district as we progress through the budget process,” said Potteiger. “If the school board would not have made that decision, they would have been locked into the Act 1 tax limit.”

According to Potteiger, the board is currently working through the budget process, but because of the timing mandates through the Act 1 and state, they must make a decision on how high they will raise taxes now. However, this does not mean that they are set on that increase.

“We are working hard to analyze all aspects of the budget and will have recommended reductions for the Board in the budget process to minimize a tax increase as much as possible,” said Potteiger.

According to Potteiger, the Board is also looking at the possibility of creating a community engagement committee. He explains that Elizabeth Huhn, Board Vice President, is going to host a meeting to determine the purpose and interest in such a meeting. “If this would proceed, the recommendation I gave to the Board is that the committee would attend all District Budget meetings in order to get a good understand of the budget process,” said Potteiger. “The committee would then meet throughout the summer and fall and make recommendations to the Board and administration by Dec. 1 of 2014 for consideration in the next year budget cycle which begins in January.”

In other news, the board members set make-up snow days, which will be April 14, 15, 16 and June 6.