School Board Meeting
January 25, 2018
Several committees provided updates to the school board. The following are some of the key messages:
Facilities– the committee is developing a list of items that need to be repaired in the short term and long term. The path selected for the school facilities will help to determine on what list an item appears.
Foster, Jacobs, and Johnson, Inc (FJJ) will run work sessions with the board to discuss plans for the school facilities.
Finance/Budget – The finance committee reported that its first look at the school budget for 2018-19 includes a tax increase of 2.55%. This does not include any increases for potential facilities approvals i.e. new school. As a result of assessment appeals, there will be a decrease of $278,000 in revenue which will likely be used by the administration to justify a tax increase. It is also important to remember that at the January 16th Finance Committee meeting, Superintendent Chris Marchese recommended that taxes in 2018 should be raised to the highest rate allowable by law which is 3.1%. He further emphasized this recommendation by saying that not increasing taxes to the maximum allowed by Act I is like leaving money on the table.
Timings for budget approval
February 13 – presentation of the revenue portion of budget to the Finance Committee
March 13 - presentation of the expenditure portion of budget to the Finance Committee
April 17 - presentation of the capital plan portion of the budget to the Finance Committee
April 16 – proposed final adoption of the budget at the School Board Meeting
May 14 – budget work session during the Finance Committee to deal with outstanding issues
June 5 - budget work session during the Finance Committee to deal with outstanding issues
June 7 – final adoption of the budget
Policy – the committee is discussing the rewording of the first paragraph of the “Controversial Issue Policy #119”. It appears that the idea of using one’s American Heritage and American Citizenship when evaluating a controversial issue is being removed from the policy. It is not clear why this is being done.
Curriculum – Parent and Latino surveys are beginning to be returned to the school district. It is not clear what type of information is being solicited from these surveys.
Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) – the funding formula for the CCIU has been revised which should result in lower costs to the Avon Grove School District.
PA Legislative Committee – the PLANCOMM program was discussed. PLANCONN is a state program that reimburses schools a portion of the money spent for construction. The level of funding from the state has not been settled and further discussion is occurring at the state level. A joint committee in the state government is expected to issue a recommendation regarding PLANCON the week of January 29th. This program has been put on hold and has not been funded for the last 2 years. The program is currently only paying on prior obligations and has a backlog of projects should funding be restored. Lack of funding for PLANCON could impact the Avon Grove school district’s plan to build new facilities.
The Business Office provided the following update:
IntegraONE Proposal - $16,500 was spent to increase the number of wireless access points. This will help improve network connectivity for students and staff using chrome books.
ePLUS Proposal - $19,296 was spent to install network switches to connect wireless access points to the internet
Chesconet Proposal - $40,000 was spent to increase the district internet connection from 1 GB to 2 GB. This was done to improve network connection speed and availability.
A $10,000 donation to the school district was received from the Penn London Elementary Parent Teacher Organization.
Revised Public Comment Procedure: There will be a new procedure for public comment. A form will be available before the meeting to fill out and give to Wendy Kraft. She will call your name to come to the podium eliminating the need to stand there and write your contact information.
Enrollment in the AG school district is 5059 students. 804 students from AG are attending the charter school.
Call to Action- It is clear from this meeting that taxes will continue to rise unless the school board steps in and forces the administration to control costs. It is critical that community members have their voices heard by the school board. Please consider attending upcoming school board meetings and/or sending letters via e-mail to the school board members.
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