Octorara seeks ways to balance budget

Octorara school board will soon decide whether to make cuts to balance its 2013-14 budget or add the expense of a school resource officer that could cost more than $100,000.

During the school board meeting April 8, Business Manager Dan Carsley asked board members to be prepared to approve a proposed final budget on April 15 in order to meet state deadline requirements. The proposed budget currently stands at $47,920,581.

Carsley said the school board is considering using $1,052,000 of fund balance to lower the proposed millage increase. If the school board does this, Lancaster County taxpayers would pay 27.79 mills, an increase of 1.1 percent, and Chester County taxpayers would pay 36.8 mills, up .38 percent.

School board members discussed cutting an additional $115,000 or using another $115,000 in fund balance to at least get the increase to zero percent in Chester County.

Superintendent Tom Newcome presented a menu of possible cuts which included reducing building budgets and athletic funding, cutting the hours of instructional assistants, cutting a bus run, eliminating classroom appliances for energy savings, and shutting down the district website or its emergency calling program.

The school board asked him to prioritize recommendations for the meeting on April 15.

Newcome also said the school board heard during its facilities committee meeting — prior to the regular board meeting — a presentation from Kim Zimmerman of Christiana. Zimmerman requested that the school district add a budgetary item, a school resource officer for the safety and security of students and staff.

According to a previously obtained school safety memo to the school board from the superintendent, the Pennsylvania State Police will provide a school resource officer for $70 per hour. At $630 per day, this would cost the district $113,000 per year.

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One response to “Octorara seeks ways to balance budget

  1. I can’t grasp the concept of spend, spend, spend! The tax money is not there to support these new ideas, so why are they finding more ways to keep spending. Over the past 3 weeks 2 people I know well moved out of Parkesburg because of the high taxes. One sold their house under market value, and the other sold their house to a neighbor because nobody wanted to pay the taxes!

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