When: School board meeting, June 1.
What happened: The board reviewed changes to its proposed general fund budget for the 2021-22 school year. Although the district now estimates a $4.84 million rise in total spending, there will be no tax increase.
Changes: Since the board adopted its proposed budget May 6, both revenues and expenses have increased more than $4 million to reflect the district’s second and third round of federal funding from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grants, said Keith Ramsey, the district’s chief of finance and operations. Additionally, the district added a new speech and language therapist, salaried at $75,000.
Overview: The school district’s real estate tax rate is set at 26.46 mills. Taxpayers with an average assessed property would pay $2,470. Overall, the district projects revenues of $31.02 million, up 18.90% from 2020-21, and predicts $31.98 million in expenses, up 17.84% from the current year. District reserves would be used to cover an estimated $953,982 deficit between revenues and expenses.
What’s next: The board expects to adopt a final budget at its next meeting June 17.
District goals: Superintendent Ashley Rizzo reviewed various administrative goals heading into 2021-22. The district will seek to improve and expand educational programs for at-risk special education and English language learners; provide students in kindergarten through second grade “high-quality early childhood experiences” with a focus on foundational skills required to read; ensure students’ social, emotional and physical wellness needs are properly met; train staff to implement “trauma-informed and culturally responsive teaching” practices in the classroom; and help learners prepare for college, employment and adulthood, Rizzo said.
Academic resources: Gregory McGough, the district’s director of curriculum, proposed enacting new research-based programs in 2021-22 that focus on reading comprehension skills for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. The district also will pursue partnerships with two organizations to strengthen support systems and academic opportunities across its schools: Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13, to introduce standards-based science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses; and the Pennsylvania Positive Behavior Support network, to better facilitate a positive, supportive and safe learning environment. These initiatives would be implemented over a three-year period into the 2023-24 school year.