AllentownSchool District

Allentown School District Releases Preliminary FY18-19 Budget

May 10, 2018

 Dear ASD Community,

This evening the Allentown School District will share an update on the progress of its efforts to reduce the budget deficit.  After conducting an in-depth assessment of past budget management, the District has drawn several conclusions that will directly inform its next steps.  Since the 2016-2017 school year, the District used a significant amount of its fund balance to close a large budget deficit.  Current projections show the critical state of the District’s fund balance by the end of 2017-2018 school year. 

School Year                          Amount Used                   Amount Remaining
2014-2015                                                $0                             $36,400,000    
2015-2016                                $   5,400,000                             $31,100,000
           
2016-2017                                $ 14,044,245                             $17,303,046
           
2017-2018                                $16,763,278                                   $539,768

In August of 2017, the board prioritized the financial state of the District and the need for the new superintendent to address the assessed fiscal challenges.  As a first step, a pausing on the addition of any new positions was implemented.  The District then hired the Philadelphia Financial Management (PFM) group as a third-party evaluator to further assess the District’s fiscal status.  As a result, it was determined the District would realize a financial deficit of $28 million if no cost-saving measures were identified. A budget analysis produced some significant cost drivers:

  • An anticipated 8% increase in 2018-19 health insurance premium
  • Social Security and PSERS contributions connected to salary expenditures
  • Charter School projected costs approximately $53M

The district has identified five priorities that influenced the budget development process for fiscal year 2018-2019: 

  • Sustainability of education and co-curricular programs 
  • Preservation of class size
  • Balanced commitment to equity and excellence with fiscal constraint
  • Establishment of fiscal accuracy and transparency 
  • Value our people

The leadership team has also identified revenue sources to increase the fund balance and simultaneously decrease District-wide expenses. In its 2018 Strategic Framework, The Allentown School District committed to the creation and expectation of organizational effectiveness.  This assurance is based on our commitment to excellence and accountability at all levels.  

The District has identified ways to decrease the budget deficit.   Some of which include additional of ACCESS billing, realigning capital expenditures and decreasing building and department budgets.   

The District has identified significant cost savings that reduce the deficit from the proposed $28 million to $9.5 million for the 2018-2019 school year.  While we recognize this still presents a significant challenge, we are excited about the work that has been done thus far.  The District is currently working with Pennsylvania Department of Education to address the fiscal deficit.  ASD is 100% committed to providing high quality and equitable education for all students. This proposed budget represents that commitment.

Our children, our families, and our educators deserve all of the same opportunities as other families and educators in the Lehigh Valley and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Our district has been financially challenged for the past few years.  We are working to address those longitudinal fiscal concerns.  In the meantime, we must preserve our academic programs and ensure we have the ability to attract and retain high-quality educators in our schools and classrooms.  Our children deserve it. 

The preliminary budget will be available for public review, and comments are welcome at the following Board of Directors meetings. All Board of Directors Meetings are held in the Administration Center building located at 31 S. Penn Street, Allentown, PA 18102.  Please see below for the scheduled meeting dates: 

  • Thursday, May 10th at 6:30 PM
  • Thursday, May 24th at 7:00 PM 
  • Thursday, June 14th at 6:30 PM 
  • Thursday, June 28th at 7:00 PM  

Additional meetings will be publicized as necessary. 

The Allentown School District firmly believes our children, our families, and our educators deserve all of the same opportunities as other families and educators in the Lehigh Valley and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Our district has been financially challenged for the past few years.  We are working to address those longitudinal fiscal concerns.  In the meantime, we must preserve our academic programs and ensure we have the ability to attract and retain high-quality educators in our schools and classrooms.  Our children deserve it
 

Sincerely,

Thomas E. Parker

Superintendent, Allentown School District