Tax Increase Doesn't Solve Budget Shortfall in Hatboro-Horsham
Hatboro-Horsham School District is narrowing the gap for its spending plan, which, earlier this year, had a $2.2 million deficit.
With a 1.7 percent tax increase figured in, the Hatboro-Horsham School District is still staring down a nearly $850,000 budget gap for its roughly $90 million spending plan, officials said Monday night.
But, Bob Reichert, the district's director of business affairs, pointed out during Monday night's school board meeting that as of January, the deficit was $1.3 million with the same tax boost and $2.2 million without an increase.
"We're continuing to budget for using about $3 million of our fund balance," Reichert said.
To make additional cuts, district officials said staff reductions–preferably through attrition–would be necessary. Other cost-cutting measures being considered include charging students an activity fee for sports and band participation; scaling back bus routes for after-school activities at Keith Valley Middle School and the potential
Louis A. Polaneczky told Patch that the board was in a "discussion phase" regarding the student activity fee proposal and the potential for fewer school bus routes for extra-curricular activities. Both would be reviewed during the board's April 2 work session, he said.
All three proposed cuts combined would save the district just shy of $200,000.
The "big gorilla in the room," according to Reichert, is the Public School Employees' Retirement System, which is expected to cost the district more than $1 million more next year in higher contributions. Under the state's Act 1 index, the district's tax increase would not generate enough revenue to cover that expense in all its entirety, he said.
For this year, Reichert said the district intends to use $300,000 of its reserve to help with the pension fund.
More cuts are needed before the board can adopt a final budget. The board is required by law to adopt a balanced budget by June 30.