CLEARFIELD – Despite the projected budget deficit, the Clearfield Area School District will not raise real estate taxes next year, announced Business Administrator Sam Maney at last night’s budget work session.
Maney has projected the district’s revenues will be $33,249,807. He’s projected its expenditures to be $36,560,438, resulting in a deficit of $3,310,631 for 2014-15. However, Maney stressed he’s used very conservative figures and painted the gloomiest picture for the district.
According to Maney, he initially projected a $2,548,425 budget deficit for the current-year. The district, he said, has already trimmed that budget deficit to $1,170,331, or by approximately $1.4 million.
Maney said the district is likely to further trim the projected budget deficit for the current-year. “I think we can do better than that, and maybe even break even or finish with a small surplus,” he said.
The district, Maney said, is projected to spend $14,595,998 on salaries and $9,035,664 on benefits next year. Maney explained that he included a few more assistants and an extra teacher or two in case something happens during the school year.
Maney also pointed out that the district’s retirement rate will increase from 16.93 percent to 21.40 percent next year. Board member Tim Morgan then blamed the state’s flawed system for costing the district $1.4 million over the past couple of years. Maney said its retirement rate will increase until it’s eventually over 30 percent.
So for as utility-related expenses, Maney said he’s budgeted to heat/maintain the Clearfield Middle School and the elementary schools for all of next year. He’s also budgeted for the operation of expanded but more efficient campuses at the Clearfield High School and the Clearfield Elementary School.
Superintendent Terry Struble pointed out the district will realize a drop off in utility expenses at the middle school and the Bradford Township and Centre Elementary Schools with them being closed next year. Maney said he hoped to report a positive variance due to the school consolidation at budget time next year.
Also, Maney said he’s budgeted $828,223 for general school supplies. However, he explained that he doesn’t plan for the district to order any until after an inventory of supplies in its existing school buildings. For example, Struble said supplies are still in Girard-Goshen and will be brought into the two school campuses for next year.
Maney said the district’s natural gas consumption increased this past winter. He said he’d budgeted for $215,000 for 2013-14; however, due to the severity of this past winter, it spent $322,347. Maney said he’s budgeted $310,000 for next year, so that the district doesn’t get caught facing another large increase.
Maney said the district’s budget still has a lot of moving parts and he’s waiting to finalize a lot of figures. However, until there’s an actual deficit, he couldn’t propose the district approving a budget with a tax increase. Maney said the district’s millage rate will remain at 92.84 percent, which it’s been set at since the spring of 2011.
Board members Mary Anne Jackson, Larry Putt, Morgan, Gail Ralston and Rod Rishel were in attendance. Board members Jennifer Wallace, Susan Mikesell, Phil Carr and Dr. Michael Spencer were absent from the budget work session.