Monday, June 24, 2013

First No Tax Increase Budget in a Decade Passed in East Penn

Tonight, the East Penn School Board of Directors passed the first budget to not include a tax increased in nearly a decade. Both fellow Director Lynn Donches and myself prepared some budget alternatives that might have resulted in a tax cut but both of our proposals had flaws.

Both of us made the mistake of trying to cut items from Budget line item 1100 which is essentially state mandated charter school funding. Live and learn.

Since that would have resulted in a reduction of nearly $200k worth of my budget cuts, I decided not to push the case further. We were at a zero budget increase and I can live with that.

As I've said, sometimes politics and compromise is the art of reaching "good enough". A zero increase budget is certainly good enough.

Regrettably, many of Ms. Donches proposed budget cuts were things that I just could not, in good conscience, support when we already had a budget that would not increase taxes. Her proposal included cuts to line items such as "Pupil Health" and "Student Activities". Too radical, even for me.

Her amendment died for lack of a second.

The final budget passed 8-1 with Director Donches being the only dissenting vote. I respect her for that vote.

The truth is, the only way we will see a meaningful tax cut/reduction in spending is to vastly curtail teacher salary increases (note: curtail INCREASES, not salaries) in the next contract negotiation. An average increase of 2.5% rather than the contracted 4.9% would have resulted in a bigger tax cut than the combined proposed cuts from both myself and Ms. Donches.

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