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Levittown Schools Postpone Budget Adoption

School administration opts to continue fund balance review

The Levittown School Board planned to adopt the budget for the 2012-13 school year at its public meeting at the Memorial Education Center on March 28, but opted to postpone it for further review of the district fund balance.

Since the district has until the third week in April to submit its final budget proposal to the state, Superintendent Dr. James Grossane and Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance Mark Flower said there’s plenty of time to review the budget to see if more fund balance can be produced.

The fund balance is essentially reserve money that can be used for emergency situations in the district for special projects that require cash flow not originally funded in the budget.

Board Vice President Peter Porazzo likened the fund balance to a district savings account that can be used for situations like a roof or boiler replacement. The budget that the board was slated to adopt came at a total expenditure of $189,996,581 for the 2012-13 school year, which represents a 4 percent reduction from the previous year’s budget total of $197,907,475.

A total of $111,982,052 of the 2012-13 proposed budget would be used for staff salaries, down from $115,077,803 in 2011-12. Another $42,502,929 will be used for employee benefits, down from $43,094,698 in 2011-12.

Board President Michael Pappas said the 2012-13 budget is similar to the one adopted last year, with some minor changes. “It is a rollover budget, but it’s really what we had last year with some adjustments to bring us into this year,” Pappas noted.

The budget will be presented to the voters of the Levittown community on May 15. “This is a rollover budget,” Grossane said. “Our intention is to keep all programs intact for students. However, there might be some staff reductions districtwide, in response to scheduling, enrollment, or perhaps some realignment in certain areas.”

Grossane added that any staff cuts for 2012-13 would not be as significant as the tough choices that needed to be made in last year’s budget. “I was not part of the district last year, but I know it was very concerning that 60 teachers were let go,” he said. “Nothing like that is planned for this year. I haven’t seen the results of scheduling, so there could be a few letters going out. I’m just being honest with everyone.”

Later, he praised the board for the hard work they put in over the last several years to make this year’s process much easier. “That’s why we’re seeing a general trend in the decline in expenses,” Grossane said. “We did a lot of the hard work last year that, unfortunately, many districts are doing this year.”

Board Trustee Jim Moran added that the budget process this year was one of the smoothest that he’s ever been a part of, and he thanked the board for assisting with the process. “I sat on this board for 12 years, and I would have to commend central office administration and Dr. Grossane for making this one of the easiest budgets I’ve ever dealt with,” he said. “Everyone was on board, we hashed out a lot of things and I think you guys did a very good job.”