School finances under review


School district finances are going to be getting a close examination, thanks to a new committee created by school board president Arnie Jansen. Finance committee members Joel Fridgen, Kristy Faulkner, Eric Holtzman and school business manager Richard Lipella met Thursday to define their goals.

Pending approval by the board on the purpose, the four decided the committee function was to make recommendations to the entire Board of School Directors, review unbudgeted expenditures as necessary, develop and maintain a rolling three-year forecast of income and expenses, and conduct the first review of the annual budget. In light of two major impacts to taxpayers in the next several years, the chairman came to a conclusion.

"I really think this committee needs to meet weekly to start," said Fridgen.

Lipella presented initial figures for the 2010-11 budget in a report for Fridgen, Faulkner and Holtzman to digest at home. He also announced that due to changes in retirement funding and the proposed campus-wide school renovations, "we have some work to do."

The school is looking at up to a $54 million construction plan, and district contributions to the Pennsylvania School Employee Retirement System on behalf of eligible employees is expected to skyrocket. Lipella emphasized that no matter what, he was going to encourage the district to levy the 3.25 mills allowed without going over the Act 1 index.

The committee will address the school board Jan. 21.