Share This Page

Board presents first draft of budget

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

A first draft of Brentwood Borough School District's 2013-14 budget is on display for public viewing. Yet, many of the numbers remain in flux, leaders said.

The budget includes a 6.92 percent increase in costs from 2012-13.

“This is very, very rough. We don't even have cost estimates for many of the things that we're estimating at this time,” Superintendent Ronald Dufalla said.

District officials prepared a proposed preliminary budget early this year to give them flexibility as they work to finalize numbers during the next several months.

“We need the flexibility because things are in a constant state of flux,” Dufalla said.

District officials at their meeting on Monday reviewed a timeline for adopting the $20,805,278 proposed preliminary budget. No vote was taken. The budget is available for public review at district schools and the Brentwood Borough Public Library on Tuesday, Dufalla said.

Brentwood school officials in recent years have agreed to adopt a resolution stating the district will not raise taxes for the upcoming school year above the state-issued index.

Yet, this year, Brentwood officials said there are too many unknowns with the budget and they plan to apply for referendum exceptions from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to allow them to raise taxes above the index.

“This is a working document,” business manager Jennifer Pesanka said.

Referendum exceptions — introduced in 2006 as a part of Act 1, the state law that distributes gambling revenue — must be granted at the state level.

While districts are limited by the state as to how much they can raise their taxes, they can apply for referendum exceptions for specific costs. Brentwood officials plan to apply for exceptions for special education and retirement contributions, Dufalla said.

Officials must use the 2.4 percent 2012-13 index, officials said.

Brentwood officials have stressed that even if granted the exceptions, that still does not mean they will raise taxes. They just want options as they await more final numbers.

Unknowns include state funding for the district, final property values — as many property owners continue to appeal their values due to the reassessments — and health insurance rates, Dufalla said.

“We're still looking at recalculating the millage rate,” Dufalla said.

The school board must vote on the proposed preliminary budget by Feb. 20. The Brentwood Borough School Board likely will vote on the proposed preliminary budget at its Feb. 11 meeting.

“That will put us in line to go for the referendum exceptions and see what happens,” Dufalla said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.