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Quakertown School Board approves final budget

By Kris Rile, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Jun 13 2013 11:31:01 PM CDT
QUAKERTOWN, Pa. -

Quakertown Community School District residents can expect a higher tax bill next year.

The Quakertown Community School Board approved a budget of $94,998,554 with a tax increase of 1.7% for the 2013-14 School Year at its meeting on Thursday night. This was the third and final vote on the proposed budget.

According to School Board President Bob Smith, the Finance Committee tightened up the budget several times prior to a final vote. Smith stated that changes to the budget have ranged from salary items to Special Education to financing.

After thorough discussion and changes, the Business Service Department has recommended a final 2013-14 budget of close to $95 million.

“The question is how do we pay for that,” said Smith.

The Business Service Department has established four options for Board approval to fund the proposed budget. The first option was a 1.7% tax increase and use of $2,768,188 of the Fund Balance to help fund the budget. The second option was a 2% tax increase and the use of $2,603,154 of the Fund Balance. The third and fourth options included a Public School Employee’s Retirement System (PSERS) exception. The third option was a 2.35% tax increase and use of $2,410,614 of the Fund Balance while the fourth option was a 3.29% tax increase and use of $1,888,005 of the Fund Balance. The fourth option was the Administration recommendation for the upcoming year.

“The budget that is presented funds the mandated expenses,” commented Superintendent Lisa Andrejko. “This budget… doesn’t put any money into the savings account for PSERS [for the future],” she continued.

Andrejko also expressed concern that there is no money set aside for emergencies with this proposed budget.

The Board voted on the budget and how to fund it separately. The proposed budget of $94,998,554 was approved with a 7-2 vote, with Board Members Dwight Anderson and Paul Stepanoff voting against. The Board approved a tax increase of 1.7% and use of $2.7 million of the Fund Balance to help fund the approved budget with a 5-4 vote. Board Members Anna Cattie, Fern Strunk, Kelly Van Valkenburgh, and Board Vice President Joyce King voted against the 1.7% tax increase to fund the budget.