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Parkland Passes Budget With 3.67 Percent Tax Increase

The $137.8 million budget includes program and staff cuts and comes in at $460,067 less than last year's budget.

The Parkland school board unanimously approved a $137.8 million budget Tuesday night that raises taxes 3.67 percent, freezes teachers' salaries and cuts 60 teacher and staff positions.

The district's millage will increase 1.46 mills, from 39.73 mills to 41.19 mills. 

That means a homeowner with a property assessed at the district average of $76,912 (half the market value) would pay $3,168 in property taxes, or $112 more than this year.

Superintendent Richard Sniscak and Business Administration Director John Vignone said the district faced challenges, and uncertainties, in preparing the budget, including less state funding for school programs. 

The district also has cited other revenue losses, including from assessment appeals and the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone, which is expected from the district to the arena project and other city development this year. Officials said the amount could be higher in subsequent years.

The overall 2012-2013 school year budget is $460,067 less than last year's budget. To get there, Sniscak said, "There was a lot of sacrifice and tough decisions made along the way." 

As part of the months-long process, the district:

* Eliminated 33 support staff positions, 24 teaching positions and three administrative positions, mostly through attrition. Those cuts brought a savings of $3.4 million, the district said.

* Reached with the teachers union that freezes teachers' salaries for the 2012-2013 school year. 

* Reduced bus runs, for $240,000 in transportation savings.

* Reduced supplies 10 percent.

* Reduced intramural and athletic programs by $110,000.

* Used of the district fund balance.

* , at a 1.3 million savings.

Among the cut programs was the , which earned Parkland recognition for its unique approach to teaching students math and science. The district will continue to house the Blake, a mobile learning classroom that looks like a space shuttle, at the Schnecksville elementary school a. 

Under the contract: 

* District administrators, who for the 2011-2012 school year, will receive a 2.5 percent pay raise. 

* Confidential secretaries will receive a flat $2,000 pay increase.

* Support staff, who are in the final year of a five-year contract, will receive a 4.95 percent raise. (The district and Parkland Education Support Professionals Association were in talks to re-negotiate the last year of the contract but . The association president has said the unit was receptive to a wage freeze but talks broke down over non-economic issues related to job security.)

Approving the 2012-2013 budget were board President Jayne Bartlett, and board members Roberta Marcus, David Kennedy, Lisa Adams, Robert Bold, Robert Cohen and Mark Hanichak. Board members Barry Long and Jef Reyburn were not at the meeting. 

College Professor June 20, 2012 at 01:59 PM
And how about no 2% pay increase for administrators? "There's no money, there's no money, there's no money.... we have to cut, we have to make sacrifices, we have to remove programs..... Oh, thank goodness there's enough money to give a raise to the people already making the most money in the district!" As always, the rich get richer while those already suffering have to suffer more.
Parkland Citizen June 20, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Individual districts have NO say on pensions. That is a state issue. Teachers took a pay freeze. That is a trade off to paying more for their health care. Teaching is slow and steady, and yet people in the private sector are so quick to say, "We are hurting, so THEY should hurt, too".
MICHAEL FORD June 20, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Parkland school board is a joke!!!!!!!! Mabey they can get me a raise, have not had one in three years!!!!!
SWT Resident June 20, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Citizen, your comment is exactly what the teachers union hand book says to say. Its NOT what the taxpayers are saying and it is NOT the taxpayers intention to see teachers 'hurt' too. There are a number of realizations that have to be considered as honest arguments as to why the taxpayers are in an uproar over the raises, health care cost, and pensions...for ALL of the teachers, support staff. as well as the administrators. Those that fail to see the realizations...are simply in denial. Ask yourself this question: why do teachers go on strike? Why do they 'hurt' parents of the children they are entrusted and charged to teach? Now. By going on strike for compensation increases...who is purposely hurting who? The next district of teachers that do go on strike for compensation during these trying year over year property tax increase times....it would be absolute suicide. The taxpayers will simply not stand for it.
Parkland School District Taxpyer June 21, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Serious cuts? What about the money they spend foolishly on new projectors in classrooms and tracking systems on the buses. Things like these are what is not needed. This 'high class district' needs to stop spending and stop cutting average workers jobs. Teachers need to stop complaining...they should work 12 months a year and contribute what 'the average person does for health insurance. .

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