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New Hope-Solebury budget comes in at $42 million

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The New Hope-Solebury School Board listened as Superintendent Charles Lentz and Chief Operations Officer Andrew Lechman presented the proposed 2019-2020 budget with a bottom line of $42,234,666, and increase of 2.3 percent over this year’s budget at 102.34 mills.

Final budget adoption will take place June 24.

The district applied for but did not need an exception, which could have raised the allowed increase. The budget as presented is balanced with no money to be taken from the fund balance. The increased revenue of $1,179,843 will come mostly from local taxes.

The cost of special education is up by $272,000 due to new programs and Middle Bucks Institute of Technology will be down by $55,000. The school board credited Mr. Lechman for bringing the budget of few years ago into balance. I

The budget includes money for a newly established capital reserve fund to cover the big needs of the future, which is $2.9 million. Two boilers need to be replaced, the track needs resurfacing and the tennis courts are to be addressed.

Board member Mark Cowell suggested a decision needs to be made about the turf field people have been asking about before resurfacing the track.

He also suggested an outside engineer should evaluate the tennis court situation. And $3 million is coming off the top for the cost of retirement (PSERS) The district’s contribution in 2019-2020 is $6.3 million, half of which is reimbursed by the state.

Board member Dana Schwartz reported that the state school board sassociation (PSBA) opposes two of the four bills in a package put before the Legislature, Bill 356 which allows expansion of charter schools without oversight, and Bill 357, also regarding charter schools applications without oversight.

Schwartz suggested interested parties contact Rep. Wendy Thomas about the bills.

Athletic Director Eric Pederson asked for board support for changing the league affiliation from the Bicentennial Athletic League, which involves Bucks, Chester, Montgomery and Delaware county to Suburban One league (SOL) which has 22 schools in Bucks and Mongomery counties. The move, Pederson said, will decrease travel time for teams, provide more JV opportunities and make competition more fair. The SOL doesn’t usually open to new teams and but coaches are 100 percent behind the move. The board agreed. An athletic facilities study is due in June

The board tabled action on a trip for the AP students to France pending more information. There was a discussion about the liability of the school.

A discussion of parking kiosks will be at the next meeting although it has been determibed that the school is not zoned for public parking.

Two residents brought up the idea of looking for “outside money” for some of the projects outside of the budget, perhaps through an alumni association.


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