Parkland Press

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Board previews budget

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 by SUSAN RUMBLE Special to The Press in Local News

Parkland School District Business Manager John Vignone presented a preview of the 2018-19 budget to the board at its Nov. 21 meeting.

Vignone said the district will not raise taxes more than the 2.4 percent Act 1 Index issued by the state.

Therefore, the maximum allowable mill increase for the new budget will be 0.36, or $36 on every $100,000 of assessed property value.

The new tax rate would be no higher than 15.49 mills.

Vignone reported the district plans to appropriate $7 million from the fund balance, which at present totals $38.2 million, to provide needed revenue.

Last term, the district appropriated $6 million from the fund balance.

Vignone said Parkland anticipates 11 additional students going to charter schools and 13 more attending cyber schools in 2018-19.

The district has to pay $10,000 for each regular education student and $20,000 for each special education student enrolled in charter and cyber schools.

Vignone expects $650,000 more will be needed in 2018-19 to fulfill the charter and cyber obligation.

Parkland will begin adding staff in 2018-19 in preparation for the new elementary school in Upper Macungie.

Vignone reported for each dollar of salary, 79 cents is needed to cover benefits.

He said Parkland’s share of payments to the state pension fund are projected to increase by 1.61 percent.

At a workshop session before the meeting, Scott Shearer of Public Financial Management, noted Parkland could benefit from a bond refunding opportunity in April 2018.

According to Shearer, refunding of 2013 bonds would save the district approximately $315,300.

The board will vote on that at a future meeting.

Ken Phillips, of RBC Capital Markets, stated the process of marketing bonds gets trickier every year, especially with potential tax code changes.

Nevertheless, he expressed confidence Parkland will do well with its borrowing of $9.6 million in the new year.