Budget Overview- Fiscal Year 2018–19

Budget Overview- Fiscal Year 2018–19
Posted on 06/15/2018
Budget Overview- Fiscal Year 2018–19

As the District developed the 2018–19 budget, we had uncertainties and challenges to overcome. These included increases in enrollment, pensions, healthcare costs, charter-school tuition, special education costs, and safety and security costs, as well as decreases in assessed property values. Taking these variables and the long-term forecast into consideration, the District had to make difficult decisions— including a potential tax increase. The Act 1 index (the limit on how much a school district can raise taxes, set by the state) was set at 2.4%. The Board of School Directors decided to raise taxes for the 2018–19 school year to 30.668 mills, which amounts to a 2% increase. For example, a 2% increase will raise taxes by an estimated $90 on a home assessed at a value of $150,000.

Challenges and Uncertainties

One of the biggest challenges for any school district is assessed property values, which are the Wyomissing Area School District’s biggest source of funding, making up 82.61% of local revenues. More than 78% of the District’s total revenue is derived from local sources. Local sources include real-estate property taxes, the earned income tax, the business-privilege tax, and transfer taxes. Real-estate tax revenue is based on the assessed property value of the District, which is currently $789 million. Since the 2011–12 school year, the assessed property value has decreased by $27.5 million, or 3.36%. At the current millage rate of 30.668, this amounts to an estimated $843,370 in lost revenue. e chart below illustrates this loss.

Another challenge is that the District’s student enrollment has been steadily increasing over the past eight years. By using student enrollment projections, including forecasting tools, the District follows enrollment changes very closely throughout the year. An increase or decrease in enrollment can affect class sizes, which will have an impact on staffing and District expenditures. 

The overall expenditures budgeted for the fiscal year 2018–19, passed by the Board of School Directors on June 11, 2018, total $36,426,467. e largest expenses are related to personnel, which account for 71.43% of total budget expenditures; this was an increase of 0.79% over last year. e increase is a result of increases in salaries and wages, the employer contribution to the state retirement plan, and the cost of health insurance. The remaining 28.57% of budgeted expenditures are for supplies, student services, facilities, and debt-service payments.

State Funding

 The total State funding that the Wyomissing Area School District receives is about 19.36% of the total budget. State funding is a combination of Basic Education Funding, Special Education Funding, Transportation Subsidy, and PSERS and Social Security Subsidy.  The Wyomissing Area School District receives the lowest amount of Basic Education Funding when compared to the 17 other school districts located in Berks County. Even with the new Basic Education Funding Formula, which allocates all new money allocated to education by the Commonwealth in a fair funding formula that takes into consideration several different statistics, we are still lower than our peer school districts.

 The graph to the right displays the disparity between basic education funding and a total enrollment of 16 of the 18 school districts located in Berks County (the Reading Area School District and Boyertown Area School District were removed due to the amount of Basic Education Funding received).