U-CF begins budget process for next year

The Unionville Chadds Ford School Board
Nov. 14 work session meeting started the annual budget process and bid farewell
to three outgoing board members.

Directors Corrine Sweeney and Paul Price,
along with board President Timotha Trigg, will be replaced by Kathleen Do,
Victor DuPuis and Gregg Lindner.

While the timeline for the annual budget
is set by Harrisburg, enough uncertainties remain to be quantified before Unionville
Chadds Ford Business Manager Robert Cochrane can roll out the initial
preliminary budget. The board’s Dec. 12 voting work session, to be held at the
School District office at 7 p.m. will be the first look at next year’s
preliminary proposed budget. This preliminary budget will be revised through
May 2012 as revenue and expense projections come into focus.

Monday night’s session featured the
district administration’s initial comment on next year’s budget.

“While district employee contracts are in
place for the 2012 – 2013 school year to budget salary, it is too early to
develop an estimate for the significant district employee health care benefit
costs,” Cochran said. “District Superintendent John Sanville and I plan to meet
with the district health care financial advisors on Nov. 15 to get some actual
health care costs incurred in recent months to base an estimated health care
expense for the December proposed preliminary budget forecast.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Education
has announced the Act I base index for the next school year will be 1.7
percent. It has also set Jan. 5 as the deadline date for school districts to
provide the public with their proposed budget, which is 110 days prior to the
April 24 primary date where a school property tax increase referendum would be
included in the ballot if the district were to request a tax increase beyond
the Act I index plus applicable exceptions. Exceptions include school
construction debt, special education costs and retirement contributions.

A school district that adopts a
preliminary budget with real estate taxes that exceed its index may seek
approval for referendum exceptions.
Section 333 of the Taxpayer Relief Act, as amended by Act 25 of 2011,
provides exceptions that require approval by the Pennsylvania Department of
Education.

School districts must adopt a preliminary
budget by January 25. The adopted preliminary budget, which includes a schedule
of proposed tax rate increases, must be submitted to the Pennsylvania
Department of Education by January 30.

After review of the school district‘s
proposed tax rate increases — as reported on the preliminary budget — PDE will
inform each school district in writing by February 9, if any further actions
must be taken. If proposed tax increases exceed the school district‘s index,
(1) the tax rate increase must be reduced to the index, (2) a referendum
exception must be sought from PDE, or (3) the tax rate increases must be
approved by voters at the general primary election on April 24, 2012.

A detailed PA DEP 2012 – 2013 budget
process timeline is found on the internet at
http://www.ucfsd.org/~boarddocs/FOV1-00037F8F/FAV1-00037F82/FOV1-000443D4/04b%20-%20PDE%202012-2013%20Budget%20Timeline.pdf?FCItemID=S03824FBF&Plugin=Loft

The School Board’s Nov. 21 public voting
meeting will be held at Unionville Elementary School Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.
This will be the last meeting for the current school board as the newly elected
board members will assume their duties at the Thursday December 1 UCF School
Board Organization meeting to be held at the school district office public
meeting room.

About Jim Phreaner

After 41 years of auditing large NYSE global corporations, former IRS Agent Jim Phreaner was looking for a project in retirement with fewer regulations and more people. He joined the staff at Chadds Ford Live more than a year ago. James Edward “Jim” Phreaner, 64, died suddenly in his Birmingham Township home on Dec.17, 2012. Jim was a devoted husband, son, father, friend, and neighbor.

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