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Central Bucks preliminary budget shows promising bottom line

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The Central Bucks School Board adopted a preliminary budget of $342,551,470 million for the 2019-20 school year Jan. 22, reflecting a 1.7 percent or $6,240,428 spending increase over this year.

But those figures may be whittled down before final budget adoption June 11. The current tax rate of 124.1 mills may not need to be raised, district business administrator David Matyas assured concerned board members.

Matyas presented the second installment of the of the budget process (the first was Dec. 4) for 2019-20, jumping right in with retirement.

The budgeted Pennsylvania School Emplyees Retirement System (PSERS) contribution rate of gross payroll will move from 33.43 percent to 34.29 percent, which is 0.5 percent less than discussed in December or 2.6 percent in the employer contribution rate.

“That small percent change is going to save us about $800,000 in expenses so we’ll take it,” Matyas said. Central Bucks School District’s estimated retirement costs will increase by $3 million.

“I’m happy to say that we put PSERS on the deflation side of the budget this year. That’s a nice change,” Matyas said.

Historically, the employer contribution rate has been about 11 percent – 5.5 percent, school district and 5.5 percent state, Matyas said.

What’s complicating the budget picture is that the district does not yet know what its state subsidies will be for next year. Gov. Tom Wolf won’t make his budget presentation until early February, so Matyas said the district won’t be able to finalize its budget until later in the spring as the state gets closer to adopting it budget by June 30.

For the average homeowner with a property assessed at the district average of $40,000, that current tax rate amounts to a school tax of $4,964.

Under Act 1 of 2006, the state caps tax increases it allows school districts to enact at the base inflation rate, with two exceptions – for retirement or special education expenditures.

In reviewing a budget forecast for the 2019-20 school year, expenses of $342,551,470 are currently projected to exceed revenues by approximately $2.1 million. The budgetary goal for the 2019-20 fiscal year is no tax increase.

“We’re very happy with where we are right now with the overall budget only increasing 1.7 percent,” Matyas said after the presentation.

In other news, Superintendent John Kopicki took time out to celebrate School Board Recognition Month.

January is a great time to celebrate hard-working school board members and educate the public about the important role that a school board plays in communities and schools.

Kopicki praised the group before handing each of them a certificate of appreciation.

“These nine volunteers stepped forward to serve the students of this school district, setting aside hundreds of hours per year to read countless documents, attend dozens of meetings and school events, and so much more,” he said. “Their guidance, dedication, and selfless service benefits each student in this community.

“They were elected to represent their friends and neighbors, and as a result – they have been called upon to take on deep challenges and work toward solutions for the benefit of our students and staff.

Through it all, they have worked as a team, taking seriously their responsibility to act as a school board of nine – and not as individuals.”

Kopicki added, “The personal experience, expertise, and perspective they bring to this work is symbolic of what makes the Central Bucks School District such an amazing place. I am personally grateful to each of them for their compassionate leadership, their unfailing support, and their consistent willingness to go above and beyond for this community of students and educators – and the families and residents of the Central Bucks School District.

“For your personal time spent away from your own families and so much more, we thank each of you – Glenn, Karen, Dennis, Nicole, Tracy, Sharon, Jodi, Beth and John. From the bottom of our hearts – thank you.”


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