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Parkland's Dwindling Fund Balance Prompts Education Concerns

2013-2014 budget updates continued Tuesday during Parkland's workshop meeting and one graph in particular sparked concern from directors.

There were no big surprises as Parkland School Board directors were updated on the 2013-2014 budget during Tuesday night's workshop meeting until a graph depicting the district's fund balance over the next few years raised some red flags.

Director Robert Cohen noted the downward trend of the district's fund balance in contrast to costs for future commitments.

Business Administration Director John Vignone acknowledged Cohen's concerns and said the fund would be near zero by 2017-2018 if nothing changes.

He added, "We will have to find a less expensive way to deliver educational programs and continue to reduce expenditures - we’re working on it. I don't see how we can deliver education in its present mode and meet our future financial commitments."

But Superintendent Richard Sniscak said the graph, which shows a projected fund balance down from $18.8 million to $14.8 million in 2013-2014, is a worst-case scenario.

"If we have revenue growth in real estate and earned income taxes you may look at replenishing that loss…we don’t know yet," Sniscak said. "We have to keep tightening our belt and at the same time we have to prioritize what is important here."

He referenced last year's fund balance transfer of $3.3 million and reminded directors the district didn't have to use it all.

"We bit off so much of the apple the year before and it had us all very nervous but we didn’t spend near that amount of money," Sniscak said. "If we see positive real estate and mitigate our reassement losses we could be positioned better than we were a year ago."

John December 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Our leadership never ceases to amaze and scare me. They needed a graph, which covers the last few years, to recognize that the cookie jar is getting lower? Hmmm, spend more than you take into your household, and you will be required to dip into your nest egg. WOW! What an eye opening concept! Thank goodness we have such astute leadership guiding the taxpayer and the children! Had it not been for that graph, we may all simply continue kicking the proverbial can down the road, leading to bankruptcy.....oh, wait, what am I talking about? That happens to businesses, not government institutions. Nevermind, the leaders will simply call to the Board and raise taxes.....again. And you have to hand it to our Superintendant....he really has his finger on the pulse of the economy.....increases in real estate revenue growth??? Increases in income??? Maybe if we played the Lottery, or chased the pretty colored rainbow, we won't have any more worries.....or just maybe, we follow the lead of the business- minded, and actually begin chopping unnecessary expenses...if you need some ideas, feel free to ask any of the taxpayers within the District who operate their own business...
SWT Resident December 21, 2012 at 01:40 PM
One word will do us all in in the very near future: PENSIONS. There is a line in the sand in this nation that is getting wider and wider; public vs. private employment. More than 50% of the privately employed residents in Parkland School District have not seen an increase in their wages in 5 years. In that same time, 100% of those 50% have seen 20-30% increase in costs overall. Across the board from taxes to food to gasoline. There is only so much discretionary spending that can be cut. When forced costs, such as taxes, water, sewer, trash, and recycling continue to escalate out of control...this will directly affect our so-called economic recovery. I don't spend money on anything I don't need to any more. We are being taxed to death to support a public pension system that is way out of control. We are seeing a 'transfer of wealth' under a veil provided by those elected officials that are afraid to deal with a problem they created out of greed many years ago. Well...thank you, Mr. Elected Official for screwwing me and my children out of a prosperous future.
Frediano December 21, 2012 at 04:45 PM
It is the legislature in Harrisburg that painlessly sets pension levels for state employees and teachers, not local school boards. It is not the school boards that grant tax assessment appeals to stressed out businesses, shifting taxes.. It is not the school board that has the authority to forgive taxes when due or paid late, even if they commiserate. It is not school boards who dream up mandates for "English as a second language" that require almost a million dollars in spending. Our grandparents do that? It is not the school board voting themselves huge pay increases; school board directors are unpaid and uncompensated volunteers who subject themselves to elections in order to be the unpaid bearers of bad news. It is not the school boards who passed a union political payoff law in Harrisburg making it illegal for districts to layoff teachers for purely economic reasons; they can eliminate entire programs, but they can't implement across the board cuts in personnel. PSD and other districts have been trying to deal with the bleeding via attrition/retirement, but the bleeding is faster every year. Feel free to wave a magic wand and fix this, election coming up, and there are seldom if ever more candidates than open slots for those thankless jobs, so no excuses. Our economies are flat on their back, that is the underlying cause of all this stress. Companies that survived the Great Depression are finding it impossible to survive the Obama Recovery...

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