AllentownSchool District

Superintendent's Message: 2019-2020 Budget

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June 27, 2019

Dear ASD Community,

This evening the Allentown School District presented the 2019-20 FY Budget to the School Board of Directors. The board voted to approve the final 2019-2020 budget with a $1.75% tax increase. Our district has experienced long standing fiscal challenges. The administration worked to successfully reduce the $12.1 million budget deficit presented to the board in May to a $6 million budget deficit while at the same time working to meet the needs of our students and families. To close the remaining $6 million budget deficit gap, the Allentown School District is asking the charter school community to share in the collective fiscal challenges facing the Allentown community and agree to a 10% reduction in their annual tuition costs paid by the Allentown School District.

Based on the Fiscal Analysis conducted in 2018 by Philadelphia Financial Management, our district was projected to face a fund balance deficit of $65M for the 2019-2020 FY.  Instead ASD has reduced the deficit significantly.  We still have work to do and will continue to work with local and state stakeholders to communicate our children’s needs. 

We are one of many urban districts within the Commonwealth experiencing both fiscal and academic challenges which threaten to impact our purpose.   That purpose is to ensure every child in our nation has a chance and an opportunity to live the American dream through the acquisition of new knowledge and critical thinking skills developed in the academic environment.  It cannot be the narrative of this city, this region, this district, that Allentown students deserve less than their peers in other zip codes.  It cannot be our narrative that we educate our children with fewer resources.  Great things are happening in the Allentown School District.   We are not without challenges, but we are moving the needle and will continue to do so.  

For 2019-20 and beyond, several significant expenses continue to impede ASD finances. The increased financial stress will impact the resources available to provide equitable opportunities for all our students.   Examples of these expenses are increased charter school tuition costs, increased enrollment and services for Special Education student needs and increased enrollment, as well as services for English Language Learner students.

As we continue to advocate for our students, families, and staff, we understand we must own the historical challenges while identifying the best solutions for all moving forward.

With the future of our children at stake, how we invest our fiscal resources, our voices, and our time in our local school district is critical.  As a parent, and a stakeholder in the Allentown School District I am encouraged by our progress, and still hopeful for our future.  

Sincerely,
Thomas E. Parker
Superintendent, Allentown School District