School board holds monthly meeting
By K.C. McConnell, News Editor
The Tredyffrin-Easttown School Board had a Regular Board Meeting on Feb. 27 at the Tredyffrin-Easttown Administrative Offices. As in previous meetings, the school board 2012-13 budget dominated the discussion.
The meeting started off with Student and Staff Highlights, which honors children and teachers in the area who have positively contributed to the district. Hillside Elementary School received much praise for the many accomplishments of its students, which included taking first prize in a holiday card contest and completing the fourth grade “Pickle Project.” Conestoga juniors Aida Mohajeri and Courtney Nazaire were also honored for their selection to the Anti-Defamation League Board Meeting and freshman Yuge Xiao was praised for winning FLITE’s bookmark contest.
After the accolades, Board President Karen Cruickshank and Board Vice President Betsy Fadem gave a presentation on the state of the school board budget. Titled “Success and Sustainability,” the powerpoint detailed specific causes of and problems resulting from the deficit crisis. However, Cruickshank reassured the board that T/E’s deficit is nothing unusual for the economic climate.
“These are numbers we are seeing district after district,” Cruickshank said.
The presentation detailed four major challenges to the T/E school district budget: revenue erosion, the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS), Act 1 tax limitations and expense increases. Fadem especially stressed the importance of managing expense increases with the upcoming teacher contract renewal in June.
“We cannot leave June without a balanced budget,” Fadem said. “And that’s what we’ll work towards.”
The presentation then detailed solutions to the budget problems. Crucikshank and Fadem suggested reversing property appeals, stabilizing the PSERS funds, applying for tax exceptions, and working with the teacher union for a better contract. Cruickshank stated multiple times that no matter what cuts will need to be made, the board will work their best to preserve the quality of education.
“What we have to do is figure out how to [keep the quality of education the same] in a way that’s fiscally sustainable,” Cruickshank said.
K.C. McConnell can be reached at email@example.com.