Board of Directors Approves $40.6 Million Budget

Board of Directors Approves $40.6 Million Budget
Posted on 06/13/2022
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At its meeting on Monday, June 13, 2022, the South Park School District Board of Directors approved a budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year that bolsters the supports and services provided to South Park students. Through the addition of staff and the enhancement of programs beginning next school year, the 2022-2023 final budget provides the district with the resources needed to meet the academic, emotional and social needs of all learners.

Like the families we serve and the businesses in our communities, school districts are experiencing the same rapid increases in costs for goods and services. Through prudent financial management and diligent budgetary analyses, the South Park School District has been able to navigate the recent challenges caused by inflation.

The final 2022-2023 budget has revenues and expenditures of $40,663,861. Recognizing the economic difficulties many property owners are facing, the Board of Directors approved a budget with no real estate tax increase. This marks the fourth consecutive year with a millage rate of 25.96. Homeowners registered through the state’s homestead or farmstead property tax exclusion will see their property taxes reduced by $269.67.

Included in the 2022-2023 final budget are:

  •  The addition of an elementary center counselor and an additional secondary school counselor to work with learners at South Park Middle School. Counselors will be part of the specials rotation, teaching social/emotional learning curriculum and providing school counseling services to all students.
  •  The addition of a school psychologist to serve district students. This position will replace the use of outside agencies to ensure compliance with federal and state mandates and reduce costs.
  •  The addition of a school social worker. This new position will help to meet the therapeutic needs of students who would otherwise be served outside the district. A school social worker will assist with improving student attendance and will collaborate with outside agencies to support families.
  • The addition of a third school police officer. There will now be a full-time officer in every district school.
  • The addition of an elementary center teaching position due to increased enrollment.
  • The creation of a secondary administrator position at South Park Elementary Center due to increased enrollment. Mrs. Kelli Dellarose will serve as the K-1 principal, while Dr. Rob Furman will serve as the principal of grades 2-4.
  • The continuation of the academic intervention program designed and implemented during the 2021-2022 school year to address the learning interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Focusing on reading and math, one interventionist at South Park Elementary Center and two interventions at South Park Middle School joined our general education teachers, special education teachers and instructional specialists to provide intervention instruction for all K-8 students. Next school year, all elementary center students will participate in 30 minutes of reading intervention and 30 minutes of math intervention every day. These sessions will focus on specific skills and will provide skills-based instruction to accelerate each learner’s progress.
  •  The reopening and reimagining of the middle school and high school library media centers. These spaces will be recreated based on the input from student and staff surveys to meet various needs, including but not limited to increasing literacy development, providing spaces and opportunities for collaboration, offering a writing lab for high school students and developing speaking and listening skills at the middle school. These spaces will be fully-staffed without increasing the number of full-time staff members or reducing course offerings at the middle school or high school.
  •  The purchase of K-12 English/Language Arts curricular materials.

The 2022-2023 final budget also includes the use of $1,117,666 from American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds. This funding will be used for learning intervention, the hiring of additional school counselors, a school psychologist, a school social worker and the purchase of curricular materials.

Approximately 63% of the district’s 2022-2023 expenditures is for faculty/staff salaries and benefits. The district and all school districts in the Allegheny County Schools Health Insurance Consortium will face an eight percent increase in staff healthcare benefits next fiscal year. Additionally, the district will see a one percent increase in retirement contributions through the Public School Employees' Retirement System. The district is mandated to contribute more than 35 cents per every dollar in faculty/staff salary to the state system.

Tuition for out-of-district schools, including special education placements, charter schools and cyber schools, is stable in the district’s 2022-2023 budget.

In anticipation of the expansion/renovation project at South Park Elementary Center, the district’s board of directors approved a $10 million bond in January 2022 at the suggestion of the district’s financial advisors to take advantage of lower borrowing rates. In the 2022-2023 final budget, the district will pay approximately $295,000 in debt service for the expected elementary center project. The district’s architect is currently preparing bid documents for this project. The South Park School District is also responsible for a $56,000 debt service payment for the renovation of Steel Center for Career and Technical Education in Jefferson Hills. The district is part-owner of this career and technical center.

As of June 13, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has not approved a 2022-2023 fiscal year budget. While the district anticipates a modest increase in general education and special education funding next fiscal year, these numbers remain uncertain until a final budget is passed at the state level. The South Park School District is required to have an approved fiscal year budget in place by June 30 each year.

The 2022-2023 budget represents an approximate 7.5 percent increase from the 2021-2022 fiscal year budget.

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