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School Officials Propose Reduction of Tax Increase To 0.62%; No Positions Or Programs Slated To Be Cut

Marple Newtown School Board members proposed to reduce the real estate school tax increase from 2.67 percent to a 0.62 percent tax increase in the 2012-13 proposed final budget without cutting any position or programs in the district.

NEWTOWN SQUARE–Since its approval in January, officials moved to approve a reduction of its preliminary 2012-13 tax increase from 2.67 percent to *0.62 percent next year at their next public meeting.

A presentation was made before school board members at a Budget & Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday night, where Business Administrator Joe Driscoll shared the 2012-13 proposed final budget of $68,108,000, an approximate $1 million decrease from the preliminary budget.

Driscoll said depending on the state's budget, the final tax increase may change by a "tenth or two" but no more.

Reductions From Additional Staffing Positions

According to Driscoll, there were several factors that were looked at while trying to reduce the tax increase for next year. Driscoll assured that no positions or programs were cut to the proposed final budget and all the previous approvals for positions made in the preliminary budget will remain as approved.

In the preliminary budget, Driscoll said it had appeared that the district may have needed an additional third-grade teacher but "it turns out we don't; if we need one at the end of the summer we'll have to obviously come back to the board and talk about that...and use budgetary reserve fund which is what that is there for."

In addition, the district will be able see some savings through attrition. Driscoll said their replacements have already been made and know what the exact savings are which is reflected in the proposed final budget. In total, for staffing, the district could reduce $175,000 from the preliminary budget.

A secretary at is retiring and a new secretarial position is also pending at the high school, said Driscoll, which depends on a new student information system software program that could manage duties from taking attendance to grade reporting. The cost savings will be about $53,000.

"It's actually a savings in the first year if we use it," said Driscoll in regards to the proposed student information system. "It's actually cost positive for us in the reduction."

An additional custodial position was also looked at for the high school, considering the school's new facilities and square footage, which went from 285,000 square feet to approximately 351,000 square feet.

However, Mike Dumin, director of operations for the district, shared that the purchase of a new possible floor cleaner can count as half a person and can clean the hallway floors for up to eight hours. According to Dumin, mopping the floors could take half a day for an actual custodian. The savings made for not hiring an additional custodian would be about $54,000.

Other Savings From Prelim Budget

Additional reductions made to the preliminary budget included:

  • $100,000 from the budgetary reserve of $700,000;
  • $245,000 in special education costs, depending on enrollment and the status of the Don Guanella School possibly closing within the district's borders, which means the state could potentially offer more aid to the district in this area that they have been absorbing the costs to;
  • $50,000 in funding through Fair Share–the portion that the district pays to the IU in percentage of county space and the district's responsibility based on student enrollment– and cost avoidance strategies such as bringing back the autism program in-house; and
  • $215,000 in operational costs such as equipment, oil, electricity, maintenance and repairs. 

The total reductions made from the preliminary budget is $892,000 with additional state revenue of $224,000.

*Editor's note: The original version of this article incorrectly stated the proposed final tax increase as 0.67 percent.

Nate Adams (Editor) April 11, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Anytime a school board can pass a budget without having to cut programs, it seems like a win to me.
MerionManor April 12, 2012 at 01:16 PM
WOW, this is fantastic! Now if Haverford could take a lesson from Marple! More then a 50% reduction in the original proposal with no program cuts, fantastic!
Jennifer Kim (Editor) April 12, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Correction: Proposed final tax increase is 0.62%, not 0.67%. Even better!

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