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PVSD Approves 2012-13 Budget

Includes 2.285 percent property tax hike

The board of the Perkiomen Valley School District on Monday night adopted a $90.2 million budget for the 2012-13 school year.

The budget includes a 2.285 percent property tax hike for homeowners in the district. The tax rate will increase to 29.24 mills, which translates to an annual tax increase of $15.21 per year ($1.27 per month) for the average homeowner in the district.

The district could have increased taxes by up to 4.83 percent without putting the matter to voters in a referendum.

The board was negotiating with the teachers’ union as late as last Friday, June 15, for a 6-month wage freeze, but as of that date none of the teachers had agreed to the freeze.

The board voted to use the exclusions available under Act 1, which caps tax increases at 2.0 percent but allows districts to use certain exceptions to increase that amount.

The other two options for the board were to use the existing fund balance to cover the shortfall or to cut two more teaching positions (one via early retirement and the other by not filling a position that will be vacated).

“Cutting teaching positions will directly impact class sizes,” said business administrator Jim Weaver.

A large part of the increase in expenditures is a 43 percent increase in the district’s required contribution to PSERS, the Public School Employees’ Retirement System.

While raising taxes was a concern for several board members, several of them also expressed worries that the current fund balance won’t be enough money to cover the district’s needs.

Board member Randy Bennett said, “The long term choice is clear – we’re going to have to address the state of our fund balance at some point – but this collides head on with the political and economic reality we’re all faced with.”

The current $4,340,952 fund balance represents 4.78 percent of the district’s operating expenses for next year.

The budget vote consisted of both approving the general fund and approving the tax rates.

The general fund vote passed 6 votes to 2, with Capt. Sam Schweigert and board president Lynn Bigelow voting no. Yes votes were cast by board vice president Lori Snyder, Randy Bennett, Gerry Barnefiher, John King, Diane Landes and Ann Mantey.

The tax rate motion passed 5 votes to 3, with Bennett, Schweigert and Bigelow voting no. Yes votes were cast by Snyder, Barnefiher, King, Landes and Mantey.

“For those who have been around, this hasn’t been an easy budget year by any means,” Barnefiher said.

In addition to the budget discussions, the board also interviewed seven candidates for the seat being . Warren’s resignation will be effective June 30.

After a round of questions and two roll-call votes, the board selected  to fill the vacancy.

Galambos, a 12-year resident of the Perkiomen Valley, has two children in district schools – one going into second grade and one entering fifth grade. She campaigned for school board in November 2011.

The other six candidates were Elizabeth Stolar, Rich Bouher, Paul Smith, Jim Nelson, Keith Gilchrist, and Tonya Butler.

Each candidate was given two minutes per question to answer seven questions posed by the board.

The questions included queries on why each candidate wants to be on the board, what they feel the biggest problem facing the board is, how they would determine where to make cuts in a district facing budget issues, and who the board serves in order of importance.

Galambos told the board she was interested in the position because she “want[s] to be part of the solution.”

“I’d like to see greater use of town hall meetings and technology, and helping the public to understand the fiscal process - things like Act 1 and PSERS,” Galambos said when asked what she would change about the board.

The board’s most pressing problem, Galambos said, is “the sustainability of a high-quality education.

“I want to know, are [our students] going to college? Are they graduating from college? What outcomes are happening with our kids?”

tim June 25, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Brian, I don't know about a slap in the face, but why do I strongly suspect you or a family member feeds at the public employee trough!! My memory is quite long, and I believe only one year has gone by with a zero % raise, and as you know, even when there is a so called 0% raise only the employees at the top of the scale get no raise, and even they likely got a one time cash payment. In the meantime, those in the private sector have gone years without raises for years and have had their benefits cut back, as well as experiencing a large amount of downsizing, These teachers have gone decades now with raises well above inflation and we are now at the point where their salaries and benefits are ridiculous. Luckily, more and more people are beginning to understand this, and we have finally made some headway in electing a few officials who have both the brains and guts to do something about it. (Gov Christie, Gov Walker, maybe Gov Corbett although that remains to be seen). Unfortunately, the PV school board doesn't get it quite yet, to approve a contract with well over 3% raises for this year and next was an act of stupidity we will not soon recover from. Based on some of the above comments, it appears some have bought into the teachers' union propoganda that the problem is on the revenue side, not the expense side.
tim June 25, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Collegeville Mom, You seem sincere but please realize that for the state to send more money to school districts, taxes would have to be raised. You've really got to realize the problem is a spending one, not a revenue one. To answer your question, after the teachers slapped the taxpayers of the district in the face by turning down a half year salary freeze, I would have made up the deficit by layoffs. The teachers union relies on sincere but misguided individuals like collegeville mom to aid in their efforts. About 6 or so teachers would have been left go to make up the deficit. Now, there are about 350 teachers in the district, so obviously class sizes would not need to go up dramatically with a less than 2% reduction of staff. One thing the teacher's union has done well is brainwash well meaning individuals like collegeville mom that any reductions whatsoever will decimate education and force their children into a lifetime of underacheivement. It is a disgusting, yet highly effective, tactic!! As for specifics, yes I would start with elementary spanish. My kids took this class. Here is how it goes: The teacher comes in and presses play on a dvd. Then she asks questions like 'como se llama 'table' in espanol?' Now, don't get me wrong, I am happy my kids were exposed to a foreign language. And this in fact might be the best way to teach it. But this is simply not an $80k per year job with ridiculous salaries and benefits, anyone could do it!
Michael Sobczak July 11, 2012 at 02:47 PM
My two cents on the matter: I graduated from PV in '07 and think highly of the district, especially in comparison to the other schools in the area. I have a son who is turning one in a month and have been thinking about where to move back into the PVSD to get him into the district. I recently came across an article about the "Top 1,000 High Schools In The Nation". Phoenixville came in at 912 and Methacton came in at 759. With PV not on the list I decided to E-mail the superintendent for his response on the matter. "Dr. Rogers, Did PVSD submit the survey to Newsweek for consideration in the top 1,000 list? If so, can you comment on the marks the school received back in comparison to other schools and how Methacton and Phoenixville's self-reported scores were better than Perkiomen Valley's? Thank you for your time and response. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/features/2012/americas-best-high-schools.html Thank you" His response: "Thanks for asking this question. We are looking into finding out why we did not receive an invitation to participate in the survey. We are confident that we would have been ranked highly. I have attached a Pennsylvania’s version of the data ranking chart that happens to show the PV-Souderton comparison of the many of the same data points used by Newsweek & Daily Beast. " (if any of you are interested in viewing the attachment he sent me send me an E-mail: sobczak927@gmail.com)
Michael Sobczak July 11, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Basically, Souderton ranks #1,106 in the nation; If PV is comparable then the quick answer here is that PV is a waste of time to include in a rankings list of the top 1,000. All in all, PV has degraded. Methacton and Phoenixville are improving and now I'm pondering if Methacton School District is the "right" place to stay for my son. Let alone the fact their taxation is less...I can't comment on their budget as I don't know the shape they are in. Why would I want to contribute my hard earned money to an area that appears to be in decline? I understand we're all having economic issues but why would I put my family in a place that has gone steps backwards even though other districts appear to be coping and handling the economic hardship properly...
Just another Mom July 17, 2012 at 04:53 PM
just curious, what elementary school does Galambos' kids go to? (yikes, is it do or does??)

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