is currently developing its and I would like to once again highlight where we are as a district in the area of financial responsibility.
Of the nine different summary expenditure lines listed in the 2012-13 proposed budget, eight of those lines added together yields an increase of $24,063 from last year. This figure is obviously well below the Act 1 index of 2.11 mills, so where is the only real increase in our budget?
The BENEFITS line—to the tune of $2,715,603.
So who controls benefits, which mainly consists of teacher pensions and ability to effectively negotiate healthcare costs?
The Pennsylvania state government!
I understand Mr. Grubbs' frustration with rising taxes (Eds. note, to read Earl Gubbs' recent letter to the editor,), so I would like to offer some suggestions of things he should do to help minimize tax hikes.
I encourage him to Google "Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS)" and research news articles related to the current pension crisis. I would also advise him to contact his state representative and ask for reforms that would change the pension system for new employees to a 401k type of system.
He could also support reforms that would require rises in healthcare costs to be at least partially absorbed by the beneficiaries, instead of solely by school districts.
These simple reforms would DRAMATICALLY reduce the financial burden currently forcing districts to raise taxes! As you can imagine though, true reforms are adamantly opposed by the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) and its allies.
Seneca Valley School District does not operate in a vacuum, and its budget is affected by many things outside of its control.
I feel the current Seneca Valley School Board is doing its best to minimize tax hikes, but with the state giving away the farm in benefits, there is only so much we can do without severely affecting the quality of education we can offer our children.
What’s worse, the longer the state puts off true benefit reform, the fewer teachers we will have in our classrooms each year.
So please understand, Seneca Valley DOES NOT CONTROL TEACHER PENSIONS, and currently has extremely limited ability to control healthcare costs. These reforms need to come from the state level, and we MUST hold our state government accountable to the taxpayer, instead of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) and its allies.
Until then, after all of the teacher and program cuts, we need to ask ourselves as a local community: What price are we willing to pay to provide our children with a quality education?
Eric Gordon is a Seneca Valley School Director representing Cranberry Township – Region 5. In an effort to keep the community informed of school-related issues, he has chosen to reach out to his constituents through this blog. The opinions expressed in this blog are his own, and are NOT the official positions of the Seneca Valley School Board. Official communications from the district can be found at www.svsd.net.