Parkland Press

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Budget receives green light

Thursday, August 8, 2019 by SUSAN RUMBLE Special to The Press in Local News

After nearly a year of consideration of projected revenue and expenses, Parkland’s school board has granted unanimous approval to the $186.5 million budget for the 2019-20 school term.

Superintendent Richard Sniscak commented at the June 25 meeting.

“This is a big night when it all comes into shape,” Sniscak said.

He noted the spending plan was vetted at many board and committee meetings, as well as at retreats among administrators, other staff, and board members throughout the year.

Business Manager John Vignone offered comments on completion of the document.

“This is a transparent process,” Vignone said. “It’s hard to believe we’re finished. We started last August.”

The budget includes an increase of 0.29 mills, or 1.88 percent, for a total mill rate of 15.71.

A property with an assessed value of $100,000 will experience a tax increase of $29.

For the median assessed home in Parkland valued at $228,300, the tax increase will be $66.21.

Last year’s $179.3 million budget required a slightly larger tax increase of 1.92 percent.

Vignone reported the district benefits from real estate related growth which is up 2.5 percent over the previous year.

He said the medical consortium costs for Parkland employees are trending lower than the national average which helps the district budget.

Vignone recalled the district started as three-year, phase-in plan to hire staff for the new Veterans Memorial Elementary School to avoid having a huge impact all at once.

He said Parkland is careful with management of its fund balance and will appropriate $6.4 million from it for 2019-20, down from seven million last term.

“It’s in good shape now,” Vignone said.

He reflected on the long budget process.

“We’ve gone through this up and down and sideways many times. We funded all three pillars of Parkland education,” stated Vignone.

He reported about 77 percent of funding comes form local sources, about 18.5 percent from the commonwealth, and 1 percent from the federal government.

Board member David Kennedy commented on Vignone’s statement.

“It’s an absolute disgrace — the small amounts contributed by federal and state sources,” Kennedy said.

Sniscak offered the final remarks.

“We strive to provide an exceptional school district,” Sniscak said. “We have the lowest real estate tax rate in Lehigh County based upon millage.”