19 Jun 2012 — Bucks County Courier Times The school board postponed voting on the final budget to allow for more adjustments.
By DANNY ADLER/Staff writer
Bristol Township School District expects $2 million in savings through major changes to how it buses children after the school board approved a recent transportation proposal on Monday, the top administrator said.
Also on Monday, the school board postponed voting on a more than $120 million final budget until near the end of the month.
School board members Earl Bruck, Frederick Black, Katherine Bachman, James Baker Jr., Stacy Gerlach, Patricia Koszarek, Constance Moore and Angela Nober on Monday approved a proposal that was presented to the school board in May by Transportation Supervisor Marianne Cleary. School board member Helen Cini was absent from Monday's meeting. There was no discussion on the vote.
Bristol Township School District does not have its own buses. The primary provider of busing is Ohio-based First Student Inc.
The transportation plan approved on Monday includes consolidating bus stops; using the elementary schools as bus stops for middle-school and high-school students; eliminating some late buses for after-school events; and mixing public and private school students on some buses, among other things.
Following the meeting, Superintendent Samuel Lee told the newspaper the plan will save the district $2 million as the district seeks ways to eliminate a multimillion-dollar deficit from its 2012-13 budget.
The school board was also scheduled to vote at Monday's meeting on next year's final spending plan, which under state law must be approved by the end of the month, but the school board tabled the issue until a meeting at 6 p.m. June 28 as officials continue to make adjustments to close the deficit. Also tabled until that meeting were the personnel items before the board.
Administrators have said the school district will use $4 million in reserves to help fill the budget gap. In May, the district announced it would furlough 11 teachers and not fill four positions being lost to retirements, a move projected to save $1.1 million. Also, Bristol Township's participation in a health care consortium is expected to save the district more than $2 million next school year, according to officials.
At the beginning of budget season, the district faced a $12 million deficit. That budget gap is down to about $3.5 million as of Monday, Lee said.
The school board will hold a budget meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Under Act 1 this year, Bristol Township's school board is allowed to raise school property taxes for 2012-13 by 2.1 percent, or 3.955 mills. If the board does that, school taxes would go up $71 for the owner of a property with the average assessment of $17,994. Such a tax increase would generate $1.47 million in revenue. With a current millage rate of 188.3 mills, that average property owner paid $3,388 in school property taxes this year.
Also on Monday, the school board voted 8-0 to authorize the administration "to perform studies and evaluations to determine staffing, building and budget needs."
"District: Busing cuts should save $2M" Bucks County Courier Times 19 Jun 2012: A4