Thursday, May 21, 2015

Board Meeting Recap

May 2015 Board Meeting(s) Recap

All documents are available on Board Docs and you can view a video on the Board website.


+Resourses to help understand the budget and the Board's deliberations
+Final Evaluation of Expenses
+Final Evaluation of Funding Options
+Announcements and Recognition
+Public Comment

The Board has been busy this month, dominated with discussions about the budget.  This involved in depth reviews of programs and plans for the future.  Below is a short review of the conversations with links to sources.

Resourses to help understand the budget and the Board's deliberations

  • The proposed final budget has been approved and is available for public review.  This document contains a lot of numbers...

  • The budget hearing presentation document contains interesting information about how the budget was put together and what the current trends are. This document provides information about the budget and budget issues through words and charts.
  • To watch the Board's discussions about the budget and review of funding alternative go to the Board meeting video page, click on the May Budget Hearing link and scroll to minute 1:42.30.  

  • The budget hearing recap is a two page summary of the discussion points of the hearing and is presented as a narrative and quick overview of the issues

  • The review of new initiatives and vote on budget scenarios occurred at the May 11th work session.  Board meeting video page, click on the May 2015 Work Session scroll to minute 33.00, the discussion ends at about 1:14:00 with the Board's vote.

  • Below is a recap of the Board's discussion on the budget.


Final Evaluation of Expenses

1. Review of the Educational Technology Long Range Plan

The curriculum and educational technology committee met on May 11th to review the long range technology plan which includes the introduction of a learning management system (LMS), the increased use of mobile devices for students, upgrades to the wireless network and professional development for teachers adopting the new classroom technologies.  

  • The Board approved the expenses requested by the administration to support next year's tech integration plan.  The question the Board wants to deal with next is what will technology in the classroom look like in 2016-2017.  The issue is the use of mobile devices - what place do they have in the classroom and how to pay for them if it is determined that all students should have one. The Board requested further details, data and analysis.

2. Review of All New Initiatives

The Board met in full session on May 11th. They had asked for a review of new initiatives in the spending plan. No changes to the spending plan were made - the administration's spending plan adequately provided for the continuity of existing programs with appropriate and needed investments in new technologies and other classroom supports.

  • Special Education cost increases were evaluated.  The increase in new students may need further review by a special Board sub-committee.

Review the list of new initiatives

Final Evaluation of Funding Options

The next step for the Board was to determine how to fund the needed expenses.  The Board discussed and evaluated the pros and cons of each of the three funding scenarios that were recommended.  .  

1. Summary of the issues at hand

  • Each scenario requires a tax increase - the question is how much.  The scenarios range from 1.9% to 2.77% .  Click here for more details on each scenario.  

  • Each of the three scenarios also requires using some reserve funds with the highest tax increase using the least amount of reserve dollars.

  • But budgets are just projections - so to determine the best tax rate the Board needs to evaluate the projections - how well do budget projections predict actual results?  The last time a UCF budget ran a deficit was in 2007-2008 and was attributable to the sudden downturn in the economy.

  • Deficits require using additional reserves whereas surpluses result from tax rates that were higher than needed to meet the current year's need.

  • However, in evaluating the funding scenarios the Board takes into account not only the current year but the long term impact on annual taxes, ongoing programs and financial stability.

2. Approved Funding Plan

The Board chose the lowest tax rate, with a slight modification ( about a 2.0% weighted average)by a 5 to 4 vote.  The impact to taxpayers is shown below

  • The average taxpayer in Chester County will pay an extra $126.00 (1.8% Increase)
  • The average taxpayer in Delaware County $163.50 (2.8% increase).

To put the tax increase in further perspective below is what the average taxpayer is currently paying

  • The average Chester County taxpayer currently has an average taxable asset value of about $260,000 and pays about $7,950 in school taxes.

  • The average Delaware County taxpayer currently has an average taxable asset value of about $260,000 and pays about $5,760 in school taxes.

Announcements and Recognition

At the final Board meeting of the month the following announcements were made during the superintendent's remarks.  Watch the video, these presentations where at the very beginning.

  • Jim Conley - New principal for UHS
    Jim is one of the current assistant principals at UHS.  He stood head and shoulders above the 40 candidates that applied and were vetted.  The evaluation process for the new principal began with collecting input from the community and teachers.  A review committee was put together including all constituent groups.  

  • Retirees

    • Transportation - Donna Madson

    • UHS - Brian Treadway and Marcia Blumenthal

    • CFES - Sue Davis

    • UES - Sally Greenwood and  Judy Small

  • Host Principal Remarks

    • Video presentation of this year's Citadel Heart of Learning Award Nominee - Kelly Kahn

  • Wellness Committee Report

Public Comment

All of the comments this month were about the teacher contract.  Go to the meeting video and scroll to 1:10:00 to watch the comments.  The Board is reaching out to each individual who spoke and will post written responses in the form of FAQ's to on the website next week.

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