The Great Valley School District is facing a budget gap that will call for millions of dollars in cuts each year for the next few years. At its work session Monday night, the school board will discuss possible ways close the gap.
The work session begins at 7:30 p.m., and has been moved to the high school auditorium in anticipation of increased attendance.
Rumors about which programs are on the chopping block, and pushback against them, have already begun to circulate. During last year's budget discussions, the district considered cuts to transportation, kindergarten, freshman sports and counseling contracts.
Below is the letter from superintendent Alan Lonoconus inviting parents to the Monday meeting:
March 7, 2012
Dear Great Valley Community Member,
As I did last year, I am communicating with you today about the Great Valley School District budget. Budget projections continue to indicate that the Great Valley School District – like the majority of school districts across the state – will be facing a significant deficit for next year and for years following. Similar to last year, the factors contributing to this deficit are:
• continuing declines in revenue;
• contractual salary expenses;
• increased rate of mandated retirement contributions to the Pennsylvania School Employee Retirement System (PSERS); and
• rising health care costs.
Over the past three years, we have reduced our expenses and made reductions that total approximately $11 million. In an effort to not only create a balanced budget for next year, but to also develop a stable financial plan for the future, reductions in our expenditures will again be necessary not only this year, but in subsequent years. Our goal for this year is to reduce our expenditures by an additional $2 million.
We cannot continue to reduce expenditures without impacting some of the opportunities and services we provide our students and families. Our decisions are not easy ones to make; however we remain committed as a District to preserving the core areas of our curriculum – math, reading, and science. We looked first at our own core – our educational program – to determine where dollars should be preserved and where reductions could be made. We know that every reduction comes at a cost…services that we’ve enjoyed in our schools may no longer exist or could be offered at a decreased level of service. But we also know that cost savings must be realized in order to preserve as much of our educational program as we can for the future.
On Monday, March 12, the Great Valley School Board will meet for its monthly business meeting (7:30 p.m. at Great Valley High School). I will share with the Board and with our community the areas under consideration for reduction next year, the following year, and beyond. Conversations around the budget will continue until our final budget adoption in June. You are welcome to attend any of our School Board meetings, to view information and videos online, or to submit your budget-related questions to us via email. Please visit www.gvsd.org/12-13budget for the most current information.
On behalf of the entire District, I thank you for your interest and involvement in our schools. Despite the funding challenges we continue to face, I remain grateful for a school community that values education and works collaboratively toward solutions.
Alan J. Lonoconus, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools