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Central Bucks School District prepares for 2020-2021 budget


The Central Bucks School Board is tasked to erase a $2.8 million deficit as it begins to prepare for the 2020-21 school year budget.

Central Bucks had a deficit of $3.1 million at the start of the budget process for the current school year, erased largely through spending reductions and the execution of debt prepayment. It was balanced without a tax increase.

Brian Loftus, business administrator for the district, made his initial 2020-21 budget presentation to the school board Dec. 3.

Revenue is projected at $345.7 million and spending at $348.5 million, according to Loftus’ presentation. The current year’s budget is balanced at $342,248,613.

Local revenue makes up the bulk of revenue brought in by the district, 78 percent projected for 2020-21. Almost all of that is via property taxes and earned income taxes, which combine for a projected total of $259,733,617.

Loftus projected a 2 percent increase in basic education funding from the state, about average for his initial projections. Increases are also expected for state reimbursements for retirement costs and social security, in-line with payroll expenditure increases.

The highest taxes can be raised next year by law without a voter referendum or state-approved exception is 2.6 percent, which would result in a $129 tax increase on a property assessed at $40,000. No tax increase is included in initial projections, but can be altered by directors as they review potential needs.

The Central Bucks board has not increased real estate taxes in six of the past seven years.

The current property tax rate is 124.1 mills, or $12,410 on each $100,000 of a property’s assessed value.

Salaries and benefits make up most of the planned spending, $171 million (49 percent) and $105 million (30 percent) respectively.

Contributions to the Public School Employees Retirement System fund will rise to 34.77 percent from 34.29 percent. Health insurance rates are also expected to climb but projected figures weren’t available.

Preliminary budgets must be adopted in January. Proposed final budgets must be adopted by May 31 and the final budget no later than June 30.

The proposed preliminary budget for the general fund of Central Bucks School District for the 2020-2021 fiscal year is available for public inspection at the school district administrative offices, 20 Welden Drive, Doylestown.

It will be presented for adoption as a Preliminary Budget Proposal at a meeting beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 14.

In other business, reelected school board directors were sworn in and seated for terms expiring in 2023. They include Sharon Collopy (Region VI), Beth Darcy (Region VII), DanaHunter (Region II), Lorraine Sciuto-Ballasy (Region IV), Karen Smith(Region I), and Leigh Vlasblom (Region III). The board voted to elect Beth Darcy as president and Tracy Suits as vice president.

The board will continue meeting at 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Exceptions to the schedule include one school board meeting in the months of July, August, November and December.