Pequea Valley Considering Consolidation Plan To Save Tax Payers

Pequea_Valley_LogoIn this blog’s continuing attempts at looking at what other schools are doing to save taxpayers, we see the Pequea Valley school district looking at consolidation as an option.

“Unless we trim costs,” board member Fred Hertzler said, “doing nothing only makes us digging a deeper hole next year.”

Business manager John Bowden said balancing the 2013-14 budget requires consolidation in the fall, budget cuts or use of district savings. Any potential tax increase is limited by Act 1.

Option A would save about $700,000, Orndorff said, while Option B would save about $600,000 for the 2014-15 academic year. Orndorff said if the board moved Option B up a year, the district would have to furlough four professional staff, instead of eliminating positions by not replacing anticipated retirees.

Board members asked Orndorff to bring more specific information on costs for both options for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years to a May meeting.

Salisbury parents asked the board to find other ways to trim the budget. Parent Christine Zink said residents now send their children to cyberschools that do not have athletics. She would rather see extracurricular activities cut before consolidating Salisbury and Paradise. (Read more…)

Many people agree, Octorara over-built over the last 10 years. The initial report Octorara would need more space was in good faith. However, it was apparent those numbers were not proving correct by ’06, and motivated the district’s Octorara Regional Planning Commission. It was an attempt to push for the growth that was suppose to justify the new buildings, and the expansion of the high school.

The vote to proceed with the renovation and expansion of the high school was in September 2008. The foreclosure and credit crisis had existed since the end of ’06, and America’s largest financial institutions were collapsing, but the district pushed on, despite taxpayers’ vocal concerns. We are now paying $6.1 Million in debt service (roughly 9.1 mills of the proposed 37.5 mill tax rate).

Currently, Pennsylvania Department of Education projections for enrollment expect Octorara’s student population to decrease to 2459 within 7 years, with an expected graduating class of only 167. Consolidating schools may be an option to consider.

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