Few residents attend first school budget hearing

The Unionville
Chadds Ford School Board March 12 public hearing provided opportunity for
resident taxpayer’s to comment on the district administration’s proposed 2012 –
2013 budget.

The work
session was well attended by teachers, who are concerned about potential staff
reductions. However, only a
handful of residents attended the public hearing.

Bruce Yelton,
of Pocopson Township, voiced several concerns.

“The district
budget process should address the impact of additional students next school
year triggered by the closing of St. Patrick’s parochial school in Kennett
Square,” Yelton said, adding. “Residents voted down the high school construction
budget, which the School Board then allowed to be creatively financed. Residents
were promised the interest on the debt incurred would be less than 10 percent
of the budget. The proposed 2012 – 2013 budget includes interest expenses
exceeding 11 percent.”

Yelton also
questioned Superintendent Sanville if the district planned to sue the architect
engaged for the high school project for costly mistakes.

Sanville
responded by saying the administration would “study Mr. Yelton’s questions
raised and respond to him in the near future.”

Harry Miller,
of Birmingham Township, said the number of district employees and their salaries
were way out of line.

Miller said,
“Superintendent Sanville’s salary exceeds Governor Corbett’s salary. Many
District residents live on fixed incomes and the proposed budget school tax
increase for Chester County residents is not acceptable.”

Robert Cochran,
director of business operations operations, provided a lengthy 31 page
PowerPoint presentation listing the challenges the district must address in the
2012 – 13 budget.

Page 26 of the
PowerPoint outlines 4 budget scenarios reflecting differing amounts of cost
cutting which the School Board Directors are considering. Among the budget
challenges are decreased real estate transfer tax revenues, resident real
estate tax assessment appeals which have reduced the current year’s revenue by
$2,800,000 and reduced funding from Harrisburg.

Additionally
the District’s portion of employee retirement contributions will continue to
spiral over the next three annual budgets. The PowerPoint is posted on the
UCFSD Web page under the caption UPDATED 2012 – 2013 budget information – March
12 Budget Hearing Presentation”.
The Internet link to the presentation is
http://www.ucfsd.org/pdf/031212bh_preso.pdf.

School Board
Director Keith Knauss said he can support a tax increase of 1.75 percent weighted
average between the Delaware and Chester County residents of the UCFSD school
district which would be more in line with current economic conditions.

UCFSD residents
can attend the March 19 School Board meeting which will be held at Chadds Ford
Elementary School at 7:30 p.m. There will be a public comment period where
residents are allotted up to three minutes to ask questions or make suggestions
to the School Board Directors and District Administration. The UCFSD School
Board Finance Committee Meeting scheduled for April 9, 2012 will also provide
District residents an opportunity to comment on the 2012 – 2103 school year
proposed budget.

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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One Response to “Few residents attend first school budget hearing”

  1. jeanne-marie says:

    Pending teache’s layoffs….hmmm…reminds me of the Toll Collector story…

    There once was a river with a town on each side. Both sides agreed to share the expense of building a bridge to connect the towns. Then a toll collector was needed to take the money to maintain the very important bridge. Then it was decided to hire another toll collector at the other end. Now they needed a supervisor for the two toll collectors. The supervisor was so busy watching the toll collectors, he needed an assistant. Now there were five enployees.This required a director. The salaries of all five of these people was more than the towns were willing to pay so they did the logical thing.
    They laid off the toll collectors.

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