Budget deliberations spell tax increase in U-CF

Unionville-Chadds Ford School
District Business Manager Bob Cochran sounded the alarm during theJan. 9, UCFSD School Board work session: “Chester County taxpayer’s
would absorb a 3.71 percent school tax increase, while Delaware County
residents would see a 0.73 percent decrease in their school taxes.”

differences in county school tax burden are driven by differing real estate tax
and related millage assessments.

According to Cochran, “Gov. Corbett’s 2012
– 2013 budget will not be announced until Feb. 7 and more accurate financial
data will be available during the winter and spring months. While some factors may change,
Pennsylvania law requires school districts to adopt a preliminary budget at
least 90 days prior to primary election day. April 24 is the date for the
primary election. Therefore the UCFSD’s Jan. 23 meeting must adopt a
preliminary budget.”

UCFSD Superintendent John Sanville called
the proposed budget a “status quo budget.”

“While no academic programs would be cut,
the district does not plan to hire any additional employees other than
replacing any retired staff,” Sanville said. “Any additional budget cuts would
directly impact supplies, maintenance, academic support, programs or staffing /
class sizes.”

The proposed budget will not trigger a
voter referendum. However the
school board will be approving a proposed budget reflecting approximately
$630,000 in budget expenses over the Pennsylvania Act 1 1.4 percent tax ceiling
increase limit. The increased proposed budget expenses are attributable to
growing teacher pension funding costs.
The school district must apply to the Pennsylvania Department of
Education for approval. Calculation of the Act 1 exception is provided on the
UCFSD Web site at http://www.ucfsd.org/~boarddocs/FOV1-00037F90/FOV1-000443A5/6B%20-%20Retirement%20Contributions%20Exception.pdf?FCItemID=S039466D7&Plugin=Loft

School Board Director Keith Knauss said
he’s concerned about the amount of the tax increase.

“Chester County economic data and the
economic plight of retired district residents do not support a tax increase
over 3 percent,” said Knauss. “I support allowing the district to apply to PDE
for exception relief to keep the option open, however I will have to be
convinced the proposed tax increase is fully justified before I will approve a
final budget in May 2012.”

Knauss supported his comments with several
slides capturing local economic data and retirement fund performance over the
three most recent years to emphasize his concerns. Knauss said “I will provide copies of these slides via email
to anyone interested. Knauss email
address is kknauss@verizon.net.

The Jan. 23 meeting, to be held at Patton
Middle School auditorium at 7:30 p.m., will provide an opportunity for resident
taxpayer comments before the board must vote to adopt the preliminary 2012 – 13

Other UCFSD news

Sanville announced he received a
letter from Bruce Vosburgh, Patton Middle School principal which announced
Vosburgh will be retiring at the end of the school year. A comprehensive search
process to appoint a new middle school principal, he said.

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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