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Palisades sends 2024-25 budget back to committee

The board may use outsourcing to cut food service costs


In an unusual move at this time of year, the Palisades School Board has sent the district budget proposal for the coming school year back to its fiscal oversight committee.

That committee on April 17 heard the 2024-2025 presentation and took part in a discussion of the “proposed final budget.” Later the same night, the full board amended a motion on the final budget to send it back to the committee instead of approving it. It passed unanimously.

Due every June, final budget approval culminates a comprehensive process that begins during the previous autumn. Budget actions in April typically establish final numbers to work back against, with additions generally ending by that point. Accordingly, any major issues have typically already been ironed out.

But this time, the district’s food service program, highly regarded in the community for many years for both its quality and its emphasis on helping students learn about nutrition and related choices, has been singled out for possible cost reduction via outsourcing.

While its typical operating losses have been noted in the past, previous boards have seen the food service program to be a special sort of consideration in a community where financial hardship is not uncommon; a food bank and other related programs and efforts play significant roles; and the program is part of a long-running district commitment to promoting wellness.

With the next fiscal committee meeting not scheduled until May 13, a special meeting is to be convened for further discussion, with an eye toward having the proposed final budget on the board’s May 15 meeting agenda.

All full board meetings, as well as all committee meetings, except for special exceptions as indicated, are open for public attendance and participation.

Meanwhile, the budget, as presented so far, noted that the maximum allowed tax increase without special referendum is projected to decrease significantly after 2024-2025.

It also noted that the district’s millage rate continues to be the lowest among the county districts, except for New Hope-Solebury.

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