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$2.5 Million Shortfall in Spring-Ford's Preliminary Budget

The first look at the 2013-2014 budget shows that Spring-Ford, like many other districts, still struggles with funding.

Spring-Ford Area School District presented the first look at the 2013-2014 budget at Tuesday's school board meeting, according to a story in the Pottstown Mercury.

Business Manager Timothy Anspach went through a presentation on the funding and the costs that the district will face next year.

The budget is likely to require a tax increase, although the district intends to stay under the 3.1 percent allowed under Act 1.

Anspach told the audience that this is "one of the most comfortable preliminary budgets we’ve had in recent years," according to The Mercury. 

However, Anspach pointed out that realistically, the budget is still a difficult process. 

The entire budget is $132 million.

The district's biggest challenges are rising costs, from salaries to retirement program contributions to the cost of services such as charter schools and transportation.

Salaries and benefits will rise by $1.8 million each in 2013-2014. Those two items account for 45 percent and 21.85 percent of the total increase in costs, respectively. 

PSERS, the retirement system for state employees, is one of the largest funding issues. 

Due to directives handed down by state government, the district's PSERS contribution has increased from 8.65 percent in 2011-12 to 12.36 percent in 2012-13 and will go up again next year to 16.93 percent.

Anspach said that the district's employees are not the problem when it comes to PSERS funding; they have paid into the retirement system in good faith.

Anspach told the audience that state legislators "should have kept the [dsitrict's contribution] rate at a higher rate and they did not."

However, there was some good news - the state is expected to increase its funding next year by over $2 million.

The preliminary budget must be passed in February, and the final budget is due for a vote in June. 

John DiGiacomo January 24, 2013 at 09:22 PM
They may as well come and take my house. Cannot keep up with all these tax increases. Am semi retirrd working a few hours a week at min wage. Impossible to keep up with all the tax increases, insurances and medical. Meanwhile our teachers (no disrespect meant) get richer as do our school administrators and politicians.
John Q. Public January 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM
There's NO ONE representing property owners, so why not raise taxes? There's no accountability for years of extravagant spending, like the new HD TV studio (as if the old SD wasn't good enough?). What motivation does the district have NOT to spend, when raising taxes EVERY YEAR is so easy?
Mike Shane January 25, 2013 at 03:16 PM
I understand the prior pension obligations but why can't the school districts move to a defined contribution (401k) as the private sector basically has already moving forward? That would put more of the burden on the teachers to save for their own retirement and less money for the taxpayers in future years.
Bill Faust January 28, 2013 at 03:19 PM
I think that Mike has an excellent Idea, most of us working stiffs take responsibility for our own retirement. We have good teachers,but the tax payer will keep getting hit with the bill.

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