A Proposed General Fund Budget for the 2016 – 2017 school year in the amount of $166,257,517 was approved by the Parkland Board of School Directors during the regularly scheduled Board meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. Last month’s budget review showed a deficit of approximately $1.1M that needed to be eliminated in order for Parkland School District to be within the Act 1 Index, plus exceptions, or 3.8%. The balanced budget includes positive adjustments to the real estate value per mill and real estate transfer taxes. In order to balance the budget, cuts were made to budgetary reserves, equipment budgets, and initial staffing plans.
The Proposed Budget represents an increase of .54 mills or 3.76% for a total mill rate of 14.89. At that rate, a home with a $100,000 assessed valuation would realize a tax increase of $54 for the year. For the median assessed home in Parkland valued at $224,950, the tax increase would be $121.48 for the year. Also of note is the value of the Homestead/Farmstead gaming credit is projected to be $107 per approved property which helps offset the tax increase.
Key Points of the 2016-17 Proposed Budget:
- Challenges impacting the budget include the increasing cost of special education, close to $3M in projected payments to Cyber/Charter Schools (cost of School Choice), increased contributions to the Pennsylvania Public School Employees‘ Retirement System (PSERS) and uncertainty surrounding Commonwealth funding.
- Implementation of a full-day kindergarten program is also impacting this year’s budget as the District plans to add 14 new teachers for this program and an additional 5.5 professional staff members to maintain class size. The goal of the program is to help ensure all 3rd graders will read on grade level by the end of 3rd grade, propelling each child’s ability to succeed academically.
- The 2015-16 Budget required a tax increase of 1.85% totaling 14.35 mills with a total budget of $157,677,695, which was the third consecutive year of a tax impact that was less than 2%.
- The Proposed General Fund Budget includes a $6 Million appropriation of Fund Balance which equates to .8 mills to balance the budget.
- As of May 24, 2016, one mill of property tax is projected to produce $7,557,323 at a 97% collection rate.
Superintendent Richard T. Sniscak noted, “Challenges impacting Parkland’s 2016-17 General Fund Budget include increasing special education costs, $3M in projected payments to Cyber/Charter Schools, increased contributions to the Pennsylvania Public School Employees‘ Retirement System, uncertainty surrounding Commonwealth funding, and the implementation of a full-day kindergarten program. Parkland School District’s 2016-17 financial plan provides for the most essential educational needs of our students while respectfully considering the ability of the taxpaying public to support a high quality, comprehensive educational program.”