Avon Grove Taxpayers for Responsible Spending


        Citizens, Parents, and Schools working together to bring Avon Grove into the 21st Century!

Facilities & Finance Meeting*
May 14, 2018

Finance Committee Meeting

The Finance Committee includes: Mr Herman Engel (Chair), Ms Lynn Weber, and Ms Bonnie Wolff.  All attended this meeting.  The following items were presented at the meeting:

Mr Carsley, the Director of Business Administration and the Chief Financial Officer of the school district, reviewed the budget which includes a tax increase of 3.1% for the 2018/19 school year.This is the maximum tax increase allowed by PA law. This level of tax increase is being recommended by the administration even though there is no explicit addition of new debt associated with the major facilities projects in the proposed budget.

Ms Weber challenged the administration on the change in the tax increase from 2.55% in the initially proposed budget to 3.1%. She recommended that the tax increase remains at 2.55%.

Mr Carsley attempted to explain why the 3.1% tax increase was necessary.There are several unknowns that need to be planned for including the possible loss in tax revenue due to the hospital sale (see next item). Ms Wolff stated that the additional tax money (~$300,000) could be viewed as “a cushion” to help deal with the unknowns.Ms Weber continued to challenge the administration’s position.She worries that the voters will have difficulty with taxes increasing to the maximum allowable rate for the next 6 to 7 years.The 2018/19 budget does not have the added pressure of needing to include money to pay for the $127 million that will be borrowed for new facilities.This is one school year where the residents should be able to have a lower tax increase.

Food Services – Paid Lunch Equity
Beth Julian from Food Services has recommended that the price for a school breakfast and a school lunch increase by 10 cents.Even with this proposed increase, prices continue to be very reasonable.Fifty percent of AG students buy a meal at school.
There is a pension liability for food services staff which is growing larger each year.This issue needs to be addressed by making sure the cost for a meal includes money for pensions

Hospital Sale Update
No new news. The Administration continues to be concerned that the AG School district could lose $381,000 in school taxes each year if the courts agree to Tower Health’s request for non-profit status.The denial for non-profit status is currently being appealed by Tower Health.

State Auditors
State auditors will be coming to the Avon Grove School District with a focus on safety and security.

Facilities Committee Meeting
 The Facilities Committee includes: Mr Jeff Billig (Chair), Mr John Auerbach, and Mr Herman Engel.  All attended this meeting with the following items being discussed:

Facilities Projects for Summer 2018
Mr Scott Millward, Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds presented the facilities projects for the Summer of 2018.

High School (HS)
Repair Gym Door Hardware – exit doors are currently not working
Create Secure Lobby – creates a check-in spot in the HS vestibule
Roofing System Repairs – Administration is planning to spend $50,000 per year on roof repairs until the renovation of the HS to a MS occurs. There are no plans to replace the roof in the near future (Summer 2018 or 2019).
Sewer Pump Improvements – Systems are at their end of life.  Items that shouldn’t be there (e.g. student clothes) are getting hung up in the pump.
Large Window in Cafeteria – students are currently too visible from a security perspective
At the April meeting, Mr Auerbach asked what updates could be done to the HS in the Summer 2018 to make it more accommodating for the students (e.g. updating the bathrooms, updating lighting in the auditorium, replacing the roof).  The administration responded that it was too late in the year to get these types of projects started in the summer.  At this meeting, Mr Auerbach tried again and asked what projects are being planned for the Summer 2019.  No projects are currently being planned by the Administration.  The Superintendent suggested Mr Auerbach discuss this issue with the architects that will be involved in the new facilities project.

Avon Grove Intermediate (AGI)
Secure Lobby and Office Improvements – will be operational at the end of the summer
Install Natural Gas Water Heater
Pod C Carpet Replacement – next on the carpet replacement schedule

Penn London Elementary (PLE)
Playground Door Replacement with FOB Access
Carpet Replacement
Casework Replacement in Art Room
Replace Lighting (Bathroom & Stair Tower)
Replacement of BAS (Building Automation Systems/energy management system) Controls for HVAC system – will not be completed in the summer
Swale at Playground D – will help water drainage
Paving Repair Patch in Rear Bus Loop
The Tree House Project is on hold; working on creating an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant component of the Tree House so all children have access.

District Office
Window Treatment to Deal with Intense Sunlight Coming Through the Upper Windows
Boiler Replacement
HVAC Unit and Equipment Support Changes – objective is to reduce the vibration in the office due to the HVAC unit
HVAC Diagnosis for Proper Operation and OS Air

Note: When discussing the last item, Mr Millward stated that it is not clear what the plans are for a future district office.This will impact what will be done with the current HVAC system.Creating a new District Office could be another unexpected expense that the tax payers may need to deal with in the future.

Timeline for Selection of Architects for Facilities project
A list of meetings and deliverables to support the selection of an architectural firm for the facilities project was presented for May through July. There is a lot planned in a short period of time.All meeting will be public. Please check the school website for the meeting dates and times.

PlanCon Resolution
Mr Auerbach has proposed a resolution that would commit the school board to returning any money reimbursed by the state (PlanCon program) or other available grants for new facilities to the tax payers via a reduction in their school taxes. The committee supported the resolution.The superintendent wants to discuss the wording with the lawyer for the school district.
The resolution will be voted on by the full school board at an upcoming school board meeting.

PENN Township Red Rose Intersection Act 209

The approved Act 209 resolution will result in a fee being charged to the Avon Grove School District for use of the roads at the site of the new HS on the Sunnyside site.  The amount of the fee will be based on the anticipated number of trips to and from the new HS as assessed by a Penn Dot traffic study.  The fee could range from $150,000 to $300,000 which is more than expected based on previous conversations.  The School District is also committed to creating a loop road by the new HS.

*Call to Action
It is important that your position on increasing taxes and building new school facilities is heard. It is critical that community members attend upcoming school board meetings and/or send letters via e-mail to the school board and administration to make their position known. The District Calendar can be found
here.   Watch the district calendar for updates.  Information about the board, including E-mail addresses, can be found

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