School district to save money

School District taxpayers will enjoy hearing that more than $175,000 in savings are on the horizon.

At the Sept. 10 school board work session finance meeting, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District Director of Business and Operations Robert Cochran said the district has “an opportunity to refinance some outstanding debt which will generate about $100,000 in interest savings spread over the current budget and next year as interest rates are favorably low.”

Cochran also reviewed a minor employee restructuring of the district’s Bus Transportation and Food Service departments that will save district taxpayers another $75,000 per year.

Marie Wickersham will serve as the supervisor of both departments that effectively eliminated one supervisory position. The restructuring will become effective in October when the current bus transportation supervisor retires.  There are also a couple of changes in administrative support personnel and their workday schedules as a result of the restructuring.

Aside from the financial news, the audience at Monday night’s work session was treated to a laugh by Keith Knauss, chairman of the finance committee. Knauss was attentively listening to his colleague Jeff Hellrung’s comments about hosting Kennett Consolidated School District staff and potentially some students at an upcoming Bullying Coalition program. There was a minor concern Kennett would not be charged a fee by our school district. Hellrung said. “When I invite company to my home for dinner, I don’t charge my guests a fee.”

Knauss, who pays meticulous attention to financial matters, loudly interjected “I always charge my guests for their dinner”.   Knauss’ remark was met with spontaneous laughter by everyone present.

Other business

Superintendent John Sanville reported on the recent Bullying Coalition work session that provided a forum for Unionville and Kennett district students, faculty and parents to discuss bullying policies. Sanville also announced the coalition will sponsor the Oct. 24 showing of the movie “Bullying” at the Painters Crossroads AMC Theater located in Chadds Ford.

“A Kennett benefactor has offered to pay the entire cost of Kennett school district staff and student participation in this joint school district event,” Sanville said. “We will buy the entire theater for one showing which will provide us with 350 seats.  If there is additional interest we can arrange a second and third showing on October 24. We also plan to buy a DVD copy of the “Bullying” movie which we can show in our high school auditorium at a future date, perhaps as soon as December.  However the date of the DVD release could be delayed depending on the success of the film in the movie theaters.”

Cochran reported the student population has decreased almost 2 percent from last school year.  Last year, on the third school day, the district had a student population of 4,109.  This year student population was 4,036.

According to Sanville, the district “noticed a significant drop in the number of kindergarten student enrollment. We attribute the student reduction population to the economy… Basically there are fewer young families in the District than this time last year.”

The next school board meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 18 at Unionville High School at 7:30 p.m.

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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