School board approves proposed budget

The Unionville Chadds Ford School District directors voted
8-1, Monday, for the preliminary maintenance budget.

In the budget becomes final, Chadds Ford Township taxpayers
will see a 1.74 percent decrease in their school taxes next year while Chester
County taxpayers will see a 2.69 percent tax increase. The net result will mean an average
household for Chester County residents of the district will pay $175 more. Complete details of the budget
are found at the Unionville Chadds Ford School District Web page. A copy of the budget is
also available for public review at the district offices located at Unionville
High School.

A vote on the final budget — with the proposed changes in
property taxes — is set for June 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of
Unionville Elementary School.

The lone dissenting vote was cast by Director Frank Murphy.

“I have made pledges to the voters,” Murphy said. “I will
strive to maintain quality education and I will not support a school budget
that takes money away from taxpayer’s that the district will hold like a bank.
The proposed budget allows the district to hold cash reserves in excess of 5
percent of the total budget. We could pass a slightly smaller budget which
would save the average taxpayer twenty dollars and still have adequate cash
reserves.”

Keith Knauss, Board Finance Chair, responded to Murphy’s
dissent by stating there is still time between now and June for the Board to
amend the proposed budget.

“There are at least five [of nine] votes on the board
supporting the budget. The district will face increasing contributions to the
teacher pension contributions in the next three years which warrant the current
budget reserves.”

Board President Eileen Bushelow said the district is not
increasing the amount of the cash reserves. Her support of the proposed budget and the current level of
cash reserves by seven other board members who foresee “rainy days ahead.”

Pennsylvania school districts must deal with the financial
burden triggered by Harrisburg’s mandate for increasing future district
contribution to the PSERS pension fund.

Other business

Kathleen Do, Board Policy Committee chairman, reported her
committee is now working on two important policies for which she’s seeking
public to comment. The policies
will address bullying and the use of electronic devices by students while in
school.

Do said the policies are on the district’s priority list.

“There have been many significant electronic advances in
recent years including iPad tablets which impact the educational process,” she
said. “The bullying policy is an equal priority as the district has zero
tolerance. We will appreciate
parent and community insight on these two policies. Please email or forward your comments on these two
policy projects to the School Board.”

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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