The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Montour County

April 22, 2013

District budget to be voted on in June

DANVILLE — School board administrators have tentatively set their June 11 meeting to vote on the budget for the 2013-2014 school year.

Danville is currently examining cuts it can make to reduce a $1.25 million deficit in its budget, a shortfall that will only increase over the years largely due to growing, state-mandated contributions to employee retirement funds and healthcare costs, according to school board president Allan Schappert.

“The vast majority of any school district's budget is fixed or mandated,” wrote Schappert in an email conversation. “Typically, directors have somewhere between five percent to10 percent of their overall budget that is discretionary. Unfortunately, it is that small percentage that usually directly impacts students.”

Personnel costs, including the healthcare and retirement contributions, are about 68 percent of Danville’s budget, continued Schappert. Also taking up a large amount of the budget is transportation, which costs the district about $11,000 to $12,000 every day, said Schappert, and contributes to roughly 13 percent of the school budget.

The school board’s finance team has been reviewing means of bringing down the deficit with business manager Janis Venna.

“Our finance team is meeting with Janis on a regular basis. I know (Superintendent Cheryl) Latorre meets at least weekly with her staff, going back and forth, prioritizing what’s near and dear,” said Schappert.

 “Pretty much everything is on the table until we can reduce the deficit,” said Venna. “Nothing has been decided. We have until June to do that.”

Options discussed have included not sending the marching band to away football games, having students pay to be involved in athletic programs and extracurricular activities, offering fewer elective classes and not replacing vacant teacher positions.

The school board will have final say on any district changes adopted to bring down the deficit, said Venna.

Venna said a proposed final budget will tentatively be adopted in May, before the final budget is scheduled to be adopted by the board in June.


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