Avon Grove Taxpayers for Responsible Spending


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

Facilities and Finance Committee Meetings
January 15, 2019

Facilities Committee Meeting

The Facilities Committee includes: Mr Jeff Billig (Chair), Mr John Auerbach, and Mr Herman Engel.  All attended the meeting. 

 Long Range Plan Update: https://www.boarddocs.com/pa/avongrove/Board.nsf/files/B8AL595457A4/$file/LRP%20Updated%201-9-2019.pdf
An update on the following projects was provided:

High School (HS)
The High School track will be replaced as soon as the last competition is completed in the spring. Core samples are being taken to check on base conditions under the track to determine if the base needs to be replaced/repaired or simply recoated. This is part of a long term investment in the current practice and stadium fields at the current HS. The total cost shown on the plan is $1.9 million.

Fred S. Engle Middle School
Replacement of the door in the wood shop has been completed.

Avon Grove Intermediate (AGI)
The LED light conversion is in progress; 6 classrooms have been completed.

Penn London Elementary (PLE)
The replacement of plastic laminate counters has been completed in the library.
District Office
The HVAC System upgrade has been completed.The HVAC system is composed of 2 units that alternate on which one is the lead unit.The new system has the potential to last for 30 years.

Eagle Scout Project – a scout has proposed building a small storage unit to be placed underneath the visitors’ bleachers to store track equipment. 

Tennis Court DrivePath Project – the objective is to create a stone path from the school to the Little League fields for students that park by the fields. Three trees will need to be removed from District property. https://www.boarddocs.com/pa/avongrove/Board.nsf/files/B8AVQG6DEF4A/$file/IMG_1073%20Drivepath.jpg

AGALL projects – water is making the fields unplayable.  The project will place wood beams with drainage boxes the length of the field to help drain the excess water.  Two sheds will be removed and replaced with a single shed on a stone base.  The plan is for the Middle School and Little League to share the new shed.  Mr Dumont asked that steps be taken to separate the Middle Sschool equipment from the Little League equipment.  He worries that items from either group may disappear.

 PLE Tree House Update – the Township requested that the school district obtain a variance for the tree house from the state for ADA compliance. After a meeting in Harrisburg, the state agreed to the variance as long as another playground in the district is ADA compliant.  The tree house should be completed in the spring. 

The Gas Transmission Contract with PECO will terminate in June 2019.  The contract will be put out for a bid with the objective of having a several year contract at the lowest cost to the district

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:

Cafeteria Administrative Review – the review was positive.  No corrective action was required.

Bonds/Interest Hedge – a 3 tier approach was taken.  The school district borrowed $40 million; hedged $40 million; and left $40 million for later action.  The first $40 million was borrowed at 3.77% and 3.39% interest rates.  The second $40 million was hedged in December at 2.91% (due in 2021) and 2.76% (due in 2020). 

ASBO Meritorius Budget Award – the Avon Grove School District received an award for excellence in school budget presentation from the Association of School Business Officials.

 Jennersville Hospital Update – The initial ruling on the non-profit status of the hospital was in favor of the affected school districts.  There is an appeal of this decision by Tower Health pending.  For now taxes are being paid in protest so they are held in reserve until a ruling is determined. A judge has rejected 2 proceedings submitted by the school districts further challenging the non-profit status.  

2019-20 Budget First Look – Mr Dan Carsley, the Director of Business Administration and the Chief Financial Officer of the school district, presented a first look at the 2019-20 budget.  Mr Carsley started the presentation with a review of the 2018-19 budget which included a 3.09% increase in school taxes. He compared revenue and expenditures from 2016-17 to the 2017-18 budget.  Salaries increased by $1,236,971 which was partly due to new positions for Full Day Kindergarten.  

When comparing the budget for 2018-19 to estimated actuals, Mr Carsley acknowledged that Charter school enrollment is exceeding expectations due to families moving into the District and enrollment increases at the Charter School.This resulted in a $500,000 increase in the estimate for Charter School tuition.

Mr Carsley presented 3 scenarios for the 2019-20 budget: no tax increase, 2.5% tax increase, and a 3% tax increase (Act 1 Index).No tax increase could result in the removal of ~$8.6 million from the fund balance while a 2.5% tax increase could result in the removal of ~$7.2 million from the fund balance and a 3% tax increase could result in the removal of ~$6.9 million from the fund balance.Even with maximum tax increases for the next 4 years based on the Act 1 Index (ranging 3 to 3.56%), the fund balance (savings or reserves) will be dramatically impacted.

General Fund Balance: $16.8 million starting 2019-20 to $0.6 million ending 2022-23
Overall Fund Balance (includes Capital Projects): $61.5 million starting 2019-20 to $12.0 million ending 2022-23

Another way to look at this is that even if school taxes are increased to the maximum possible, assuming rates higher than we have seen in recent years and not using any exceptions to exceed the maximum, there is very limited ability to absorb unanticipated increases in operating expenses or project costs.

Long range plan update


*Call to Action
It is important that your voice 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 voice heard.   The District Calendar can be found here.   Watch the district calendar for updates.  Information about the board, including E-mail addresses, can be found here.

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