The Central Bucks School District’s Business Administrator David W. Matyas provided the school board on Dec. 4 with its first look at a proposed 2019-20 budget that would go into effect on July 1.
Matyas broke his presentation into four sections: an overview of Act 1 of 2006, (tax reform); financially, how did Central Bucks end this past school year 2017-18; current year financial status, 2017-18; and looking forward to the 2019-20 budget year.
Board members and administrators will work over the next several months to close a $3.1 million deficit in the 2019-20 proposed preliminary budget.
Among the other options to close the deficit are hiking property taxes or drawing from the district’s savings account, which stands at $10.3 million after more than $11 million was transferred to the capital reserve fund to cover the costs of air conditioning at Tamanend Middle School and Simon Butler Elementary School.
For 2017-18, revenues came in at $331 million, which is $12 million more than anticipated. Of that, $12 million, $6.6 million is from a one time reimbursement from the state for construction expense reimbursement.
Matyas outlined the trends in the Rainy Day Fund Balance, which have averaged about $15.2 million or 4.6 percent of budget, then compared 2017-18 to 2018-19 expenses.
“So that’s good news,” Matyas said. “We’re in a sweet spot right where we want to be. We’re in a good financial position.”
Matyas described the recent history of 0 percent tax increases in spite of Act 1 allowances.
Matyas explained to the members that the board has asked for the exceptions but haven’t used them recently, as they can’t go back and ask for them later if something happens with the budget.
Matyas went on to talk about the impact of the constitutional amendment voted on regarding the 100 percent median homestead exception as well as the impact of a potential increase in sales tax and personal income tax, which was discussed in more detail at the Finance Committee recently.
Expenses for 2017-18 came in below what was projected by 1.2 million in the previous year, with a positive revenue and expense variance of $6.9 million, Matyas discussed the various fund balances, with board president Glenn Schloeffel asking about the amount of balances the district is allowed to carry forward. Central Bucks is currently carrying 4.6 percent of the budget in balances.
As of Oct. 31, revenues for 2017-18 fiscal year are projected to come in above what was budgeted by about $500,000, with about a 1.8 million expense variance in the positive. Matyas outlined major sources of revenue for the district, 80 percent of which comes from local sources, through taxes, 19 percent from the state, and 1 percent from federal sources.
In reviewing a budget forecast for the 2019-20 school year, revenues of $336.6M are projected to exceed expenses by approximately $300,000. The budgetary goal for the 2019-20 fiscal year is no tax increase.
In other business, the Central Bucks School Board has reappointed its president and vice president to lead the district in 2019. Glenn Schloeffel was reappointed as president and Karen Smith was appointed vice president, both by a unanimous vote of the board at its recent reorganization meeting.