Budget talks go on despite pandemic

Some things need to be addressed regardless of a pandemic. One such matter is the 2020-2021 budget for the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District. Despite uncertainties about the budget because of COVID-19, the board is still expected to vote on the spending bill in June. A budget hearing is scheduled for May 4.

In November, before the pandemic struck and shut down schools and in-person public meetings, the board a proposed preliminary budget of just less than $103 million. That figure reflects an estimated $9.1 million fund balance from this year's budget plus $93.7 million in estimated revenue for the coming year.

Proposed millage rates at that time were 30.47 mils for Chester County property owners and 27.73 mils for Chadds Ford Township property owners. Chadds Ford is the only Delaware County municipality in the U-CF district.

"Lots of things are in motion, but lots of things still aren't fully understood," said Director Rashi Akki, of the board's finance committee, during the board's April 20 meeting, "but we continue to stay ahead of our overall estimates of the budget."

According to district Business Manager Bob Cochran, the May 4 hearing is to present the budget in detail to the general public and that the goal is not to increase the millage rates this time.

"The May 4 meeting is intended for the board to openly discuss in that public forum … the various budget options and scenarios that are out there and to hear from the public any concerns that they have," Cochran said.

There could be a second meeting on May 6, depending on what transpires during the May 4 hearing, he added. From that, a proposed final budget will be presented to the board on May 11. But things could still change after that.

"That does not lock anything into place, other than it starts the timeline," Cochran said. "The board has to adopt that proposed final budget at least 30 days before they adopt a final budget."

A vote on the final budget is scheduled for June 15.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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