The Saucon Valley School Board won’t be debating its annual budget until their second meeting in April, but members began preliminary discussions with the recent state budget proposal in mind.
Some members were concerned that beginning the process in April won’t allow them enough time to fully examine all of their financial options. They have yet to decide whether to go another year without a tax increase or institute a tax increase to prepare for their upcoming Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) liabilities. One member asked for an additional budget meeting to be held in March to discuss that issue; no decision was made on that meeting.
School board treasurer assured the members that there was a two year and five year plan with projections for variables including PSERS and ongoing contract negotiations. One district resident asked whether these projections would be made available online, as the Southern Lehigh School District publicizes theirs. The treasurer said that he was in favor of putting the projection on the school district’s website and the action would be discussed amongst the other members.
Governor Corbett’s budget proposal was unveiled last week and several school board members had questions for their treasurer about the effects it would have on Saucon Valley. They discussed the change in the pension system from defined benefit to defined contribution or a 401(k) plan for new employees and the shift for new employees. Tied to the privatization of state liquor stores was also the promise of increased funds for Pennsylvania public schools. If the budget were to pass as proposed, Saucon Valley School District is estimated to receive a one-time state contribution of $64,000.
There will be a statewide webcast analyzing the budget and its effects on school boards where the Saucon Valley treasurer will participate. He assured the other members of the board that he would share their findings at the next meeting in March.