At Monday night's board of education meeting, the Spring-Ford Area School District heard committee reports from finance and property. Board President Tom DiBello gave his report on the finance committee meeting, which was held on Feb. 23. At the meeting, a bulk of the time was spent discussing the 2012-13 budget.
The board originally approved a preliminary budget of about $130 million back in . DiBello reported on Monday that the finance committee was able to shave off between $1.5 and $2.3 million, which puts the budget somewhere between $127 and $128 million. DiBello said that number will probably go down more as the committee proceeds.
"That’s just the first meeting," DiBello said. "We still have several more review sessions planned over the next couple of months. We're looking very closely at the budget. I reviewed most of this last week at the board meeting, where we briefly discussed the governor's budget. We are anxiously waiting to see where that goes over the next two to three months."
DiBello said there was nothing significant that was shaved off from the budget, but that the committee looked at increases from last year's budget and decided if that really needed to be done. Other increases like salary and benefits cannot be controlled because they are contractual items.
There has been some debate on the floor in Harrisburg, but DiBello said that from a district standpoint, the board is estimating to get as much as last year, or maybe a little more, from the state.
"What we're all waiting to see what happens is the way they role the additional line items into the budget," he said. "Transportation, social security and all that; how that all roles in and the impact it has. It's probably going to be another month or two before we get an idea of how it's going to impact us."
DiBello pointed out an action item on Monday night's agenda, which was presented as Resolution #2012-12, urging legislators to support prevailing wage reform, such as House Bill 1329. That resolution was approved unanimously by the board.
"I think that it's important because it does free up a little bit as far as what the district has to role out versus not," DiBello said of supporting the prevailing wage. "I think it's a good thing as long as there's not a lot of conditions that are put out. Sometimes house bills start out as a good bill, but then there's all these conditions that the bill, when it's all said and done, it really isn't much different than what's already there as far as you can and cannot do."
According to DiBello, there will be a town hall meeting open to the public in April. He said it was originally supposed to be at the end of March, but the committee decided to push it to April because of the pending budget coming out of Harrisburg. At that meeting, there will be more details concerning the cuts from the budget between now and then.
DiBello also confirmed that the committee determined the district is on track to achieve the estimated savings of $1 million by employing the outsourced custodial services of .
Board Vice President Joe Ciresi gave a report on the property committee meeting. He said there were discussions of a new electronic sign in front of the high school, putting scoreboards and bleachers up at the softball fields per requirements, and expanding the entrance to .
Ciresi also mentioned the district is seeing a savings of $225,000 in electricity "year to date." Last year, it was reported the district saved .
The arboretum behind the has also seen some work, courtesy of owner Gail Wellington and other volunteers in the community. Ciresi was happy to publically commend Wellington and her crew for taking initiative to replace the sign and clean up the area.
All items on the agenda, including the minutes from Dec. 5, Dec. 12, Dec. 21, Jan. 17 and Jan. 23 were approved unanimously. Board members Bernard Pettit and were absent from the meeting. The following items of note were also approved by the board on Monday night:
- Resolution 2012-11 - Termination of employee #03871 as presented - Superintendent David Goodin did not have comment on the situation.
- Approval to hire as the new Director of Curriculum and Instruction.
- Approval to extend the contract for turf maintenance mowing and trimming with Blackforest Landscaping for the 2012 mowing season in the amount of $1,225 per mowing for all elementary schools with the exception of , which is completed in-house. The bid was originally awarded in January 2011 with the option to extend for two additional years. Funding will come from the General Fund - Maintenance Budget
- Approval to move forward with travel arrangements for Goodin to travel to Shannon, Ireland from March 31 through April 7. Goodin will be accompanying Spring-Ford High School students on their visit to Colaiste Chiarain High School as a part of the . The total cost to the district will be $769.20 for airfare plus lodging and meals - DiBello estimated at the meeting that lodging would be about $150 per night and food would be about $100 per day.
- Approval to purchase a [SAN] System to add much needed storage space to the server environment. The equipment will be procured under the COSTARS State Contract. Fudning will be paid from the 2011-12 Technology Budget and shall not exceed $21,000.
- Approval of Intensive Wellness & Fitness Training in the 2012-13 school year - a co-educational program for 10-12 graders that starts at approximately 7:00 a.m. (designated as "Zero Period"). No additional staff is needed and the cost will be $360 for initial curriculum development (12.0 hours). Transportation will not be provided for students taking this course.