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$61.567 Million Budget for UPSD Includes 2.9% Millage Increase
Written by Bradlley Schlegel, Staff Writer

District Officials Reduce Transfer Amount by $230K


            An update to the proposed budget of over $61 million for the 2018-19 school year in the Upper Perkiomen School District reveals a reduction in total expenditures by more than $149,000. The school board and administration also projects $80,000 more in revenues.

            This adds up to a reduction of close to $230,000 that now needs to be transferred from the district's fund balance, according to Sandra Kassel, the district's Business Administrator.

            Last week, Kassel maintained her recommendation for a 2.9 percent millage rate increase for the budget, with expenditures totaling $61.567 million. Superintendent Alexis McGloin seconded that opinion, adding that she had initially been "teetering" between that figure and a 1.7 percent millage rate increase.

            During the May 24 board workshop meeting, Kassel identified the reduction in projected costs as $78,000 in technical items, $63,000 in leases, $25,000 for the cost of an HVAC van. Additional costs of $2,360 in athletic insurance dues and $12,898 in miscellaneous adjustments brought the revised total to $149,742.

            The business administrator also showed an additional $65,000 in delinquent real estate payments, $10,000 in real estate transfers and $5,000 in transportation services provided to other Local Education Agencies (LEA's).

            At that rate, the district would need to transfer $893,704 from the district's fund balance. An initial projection called for moving $1.123 million.

            "We took a real hard look at the budget and are really proud that we got the number (to that amount)," McGloin said. "It's a huge win. The goal is to get that number to zero. We're working really hard to make that happen."

            According to McGloin, district officials' scrutiny of the budget process includes meeting with each building principal to examine all of the costs. She said each administrator is forced to justify the costs in each line item.

            Kassel recommended that any money left over in the current budget be transferred to the capital project fund so it may be utilized for a one-time expense.

            She also said the board could use the funds to reduce the cost of a potential fourth borrowing to fund the construction of the new middle school on Montgomery Avenue in Upper Hanover.

            "You have to be strategic when using your fund balance," she said.

            According to school board president Kerry Drake, the district's projected expenses were an average of $3.5 million higher than the actual expenses over the three previous school years.

            McGloin and Kassel explained that a newly installed data system will allow district officials to continue to improve their tracking and budgeting efforts. The superintendent, selected for her current position in October of 2014, admitted that "I was only here for six months" and the 2014-2015 budget had a significant difference between the spending and budget. That number, she said, has gotten closer each year.





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