SV officials study Corbett budget for impact
Vote set Monday on preliminary school budget
February 11, 2013
Gov. Tom Corbett's budget address Tuesday gave school districts a clearer financial picture as they start to formulate their own spending plans. That could help the Seneca Valley School Board, which is slated to vote Monday on a preliminary 2013-14 budget that has a $2.8 million deficit. However, those numbers could change in the coming days as business manager Lynn Burtner analyzes the numbers released Tuesday from Harrisburg. The vote Tuesday will set in motion a series of events that won't end until the board passes a final budget, which it must do before the end of June. Between now and then, Burtner must figure out how both the state and federal budgets will impact Seneca Valley in terms of either increases or decreases in funding from last year. Those numbers will help determine how much, if any, the district might raise property taxes for the 2013-14 school year. Linda Andreassi, district director of communications, said Seneca Valley officials are pleased Corbett decided to focus this year on programs like early education, school safety and early literacy. However, that doesn't mean the proposed state budget is without questions. “The Passport to Learning Block Grant is an exciting concept. However, our first blush of the budget would indicate that there is no new revenue to cover these initiatives,” Andreassi said. “The funding he speaks of won't apply to public schools until 2014-15, and that is contingent on the privatization of wine and spirits.” Andreassi added that school officials have already begun dissecting the budget and will tell the public soon about how it might impact the district. “Any impact his budget will have on Seneca Valley should be made clearer to us in the next few days and will be shared with the board and public as we make our way through the beginning stages of the budget process,” she said. The numbers released Tuesday also will help determine if Seneca Valley will apply for exceptions from the state. If granted, the exceptions would allow the school board to enact a property tax increase that is larger than allowed by the state. That increase level is set at 2 percent, which for Seneca Valley equates to 2.2 mills. The school board must apply for the exceptions from the state by March 7, although it might vote on that issue Monday.