Avon Grove Taxpayers for Responsible Spending


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

Committee of the Whole- Budget Work Session

March19, 2019

This was a very excellent detailed look at the AG budget.  This was best we have seen in the years we have been covering AG.  To fully appreciate and understand the presentation we recommend that you attend these meetings. 

Members of the Committee of the Whole- Budget Work Session include Ms Tracy Lisi (Chair), Mr John Auerbach, Mr Charles Beatty, Mr Jeff  Billig, Mr Rick Dumont, Mr Herman Engel, Ms Lynn Weber, Mr Bill Wood, and Ms Bonnie Wolff.   All attended the meeting except Ms Lisi.  Mr Billig participated via phone.

This meeting is the second of 5 budget working sessions. The objective of the meeting was to review the expenditures for the proposed budget.  On April 11th, proposed expenditures will continue to be assessed including the capital budget.  A discussion of the proposed budget for adoption is scheduled for the April 25th meeting.  Two additional work sessions are planned for May 20 and 28th followed by the adoption of the final budget on June 6th.

Meeting Agenda:
The presentation for this meeting can be found on the meeting Agenda

The meeting began with an assessment of per pupil spending vs growth in student achievement.  Growth in student achievement was based on the PSSA Exams (across grades 3-8) and the Keystone Exams (algebra, biology, and literature for high school students).   Growth was based on an assessment of what scores the student was expected to achieve vs the scores they actually achieved.  In all cases except for biology, Avon Grove students’ growth in achievement was higher than most schools in the region while spending per pupil was below other schools.

The 2nd part of the meeting focused on Department Heads presenting their proposed 2019-20 budget to the school board.  Below is a high level summary of what was presented.  Please see the actual presentations (link above) for more details. The budgets presented cover the non-personnel operational costs specific to that department or building.

Penn London Elementary School (Grades K-2)
Enrollment 937 students
Faculty: 2 administrators, 62.5 professional staff, 25 support staff/aides, 3 office assistants, 2 nurses
40 homerooms
Request for a 6% increase ($7,836) from $130,614 to $138, 450

AG Intermediate School (Grades 3-6)

Enrollment 1508 students
Faculty: 3 administrators, 90 teachers, 4 counselors, 28 support staff/aides, 4 office assistants, 2 nurses
60 homerooms
Request for a 3.5% increase ($7641) from $218,109 to $225,750

Fred S. Engle Middle School (Grades 7-8)
Enrollment 845 students
Faculty: 2 administrators, 59.5 professional staff including 2 counselors, 9 support staff/aides, 1 office assistant, 1 nurse
Request for a 4.5% increase ($7,429) from $165,221 to $172,650

AG High School (Grades 9-12)
Enrollment 1787 students
TCHS enrollment 234 students
Faculty: 5 administrators, 116 professional staff including 7 counselors, 23 support staff/aides, 1 office assistant, 2 nurses
Request for a 0.81% increase ($2,918) from $361,882 to $364,800; The proposed budget includes a shift in money from World Languages (decrease of  $2500) to Industrial Arts (increase of  $6,825)

Athletics and Activities
Request for a 3.75% increase ($17,780) from $474,232 to $492,012 with most increase being directed at Middle School Athletics.

Curriculum & Instruction
Proposed budget of $302,750 which is a 8.12% reduction of $26, 766 from the previous budget of $329,516
The Technology Supply budget increased by $54,000 to support the Math program

Pupil Services (Grades K-12)
Enrollment 5,073 students
Faculty: 1 administrator, 41 teachers, 14 counselors, 5 school psychologists, 5 social workers, 1 dental hygienist, 27 support staff/aides, 1 office assistant, 7 nurses, 45 Personal Care Assistants (PCAs), 8 related services professionals
Proposed budget of $429,100 is a 7.14% reduction of $33,000 from the previous budget of $462,100

Special Education (PreK-12+)
Enrollment 630 students  plus El students
Out of District Enrollment - 35
TCHS enrollment 234 students
Faculty: 1 administrators, 39 teachers, 4 gifted teachers, 5 school psychologists, 6 Speech Pathologists, 8 related service professionals, 27 support staff/aides, 1 office assistant, 45PCAs
Proposed budget of $5,358,000 is a 8.39% reduction of $490,800 from the previous budget of $5,848,800.

Technology Division
Proposed budget of $1,043,200 is a 24.26% reduction of $334,221 from the previous budget of $1,377,421.

Mr Dan Carsley, the Director of Business Administration and the Chief Financial Officer of the school district provided a budget comparison of the proposed 2019-20 budget to the current 2018-19 budget.  The proposed budget of $98,922,814 contains a $2,019,532 increase over the 2018-19 budget of $96,903,282.  The key drivers for the increase are salaries (2.89% increase of $944,316), benefits (0.59% increase of $128,059) and Transportation/Insurance/Tuition (8.57% increase of $1,548,844).  In the context that salary increases are a key driver of the budget increase (46.8% of the total budget increase), Mr John Auerbach requested information on new headcount including positions that are modified to create new positions.

Benefits include a 5.5% increase for retirement benefits and a 4.38% increase for Health Savings Accounts.  These increases are offset to a large extent by 7.4% reduction in medical insurance.

Transportation costs continue to increase based on the mandated ACT 1 increase.  There is a desire to purchase new software to optimize the bus routes for the AGSD.  There is also a suggestion to buy a van that could be used to reduce the need to use the larger buses for some select after school activities.

Tuition for Charter schools will increase by $990,656 in the proposed budget.  Despite promises that the charter school tuition costs would stabilize or decrease due to the implementation of Full Day Kindergarten, it is rising in 2019-20 budget.  This is due to 34 students attending the charter school during the 2018-19 school year of which 17 were pre-existing students at the charter school but their families have now moved into the AG school district.

The CCIU Pass Through costs are increasing by $243,300 to cover Facilities management ($126,500) and Communication specialist ($116,800) costs.

The Special Education Department has requested a second supervisor (this is not in the proposed 2019-20 budget) in order to determine if the number of PCAs could be reduced.  The second supervisor could help staff determine if each student needs their own PCA or can certain students share a PCA.  The objective is to reduce student reliance on a particular PCA.  This initiative could also reduce costs. 

The next Committee of the Whole- Budget Work Session will take place on April 11th. Proposed expenditures will continue to be assessed including the capital budget. 

*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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