The North Penn School District (NPSD) Board of School Directors approved a budget of $207,637,940 for the 2012-2013 school year at an action meeting on June 21st. The budget includes a 1.7 percent tax increase for residents, which is the state's Act 1 index. It equates to a $54 increase for the average tax payer.
Developing a balanced budget that included a minimal tax increase was challenging in the current economic times. Since the adoption of the preliminary budget in January, the board and administration worked extremely hard in reducing expenses. Many of these reductions came from the operational side of the school district and included living with vacancies, delaying pay increases for support staff and administration, health care cost reductions, significant energy savings and re-bidding of services.
In addition, NPSD received positive news late in the budget process that allowed the board to adopt a budget within the Act 1 index, and not use the exceptions for which it had previously applied. This good news included the withdrawing of a tax appeal equaling approximately $140,000 in revenues and $600,000 to be taken out of escrow and added to the general fund, new health care savings estimated at approximately $130,000 by joining the Southeastern Pennsylvania Schools Trust for Medical Benefits consortium, and indications from the state that some funding would be restored.
"The work done by NPSD staff this past year to cut expenses and increase revenues, through the Innovation Celebration and other efforts, is being applauded state wide. Several staff meetings, community forums and online chats were held to maintain open communication about the budget and its challenges," said Dr. Curtis R. Dietrich, superintendent, North Penn School District. "I want to thank everyone -- parents, community members, business partners, staff and students -- for their support and suggestions through this process."
Dietrich referenced Innovation Celebration II, an event held in May in which district employees, students and community members brought forward revenue enhancing and expenditure curtailment ideas. In its second year, Innovation Celebration received recognition from the Association of School Business Officials International as an outstanding practice.
Two areas NPSD is pursuing that Innovation Celebration II highlighted are advertising in schools and alumni development. Currently an advertising policy is being drafted and reviewed by the school board and alumni development efforts are taking shape through the Office of School and Community Engagement.
NPSD approached the 2012-2013 budget knowing it would be challenging, but also understanding that the next several years will be just as difficult. Through it all the objective was to protect NPSD's core mission of educating students.
"Administration and the Board of Directors worked together to finalize a budget that maintained current programs in the North Penn School District while keeping taxes within the Act 1 Index," said Vince Sherpinsky, president, NPSD Board of School Directors. "Parents and community members can be assured that their tax dollars are being used wisely and where it matters most - on students."