AllentownSchool District

Superintendent's Message: ASD Fiscal Analysis

Letterhead



March 22, 2018

Greetings Allentown Community,

Today represents another significant step in Allentown School District continuing the promise of the Commitment to Excellence.   The District is releasing the results of an independent fiscal analysis. While the results of this analysis are concerning and speak to numerous internal and external challenges for ASD in moving forward, it also represents a significant step towards success for the District.   A strong house must be built on a strong foundation.  This information becomes our foundation for change toward the achievement of our goal.  ASD’s goal is to be a high performing organization in all aspects and that begins with developing a clear baseline for our financial health. The following points outline an assessment of our financial status as a District as well as needed next steps:

  1. Our district has been plagued for years with financial challenges and one of the most important aspects of the Strategic Framework is a fiscal analysis (See pg. 15 of the Framework) to address our deficit.
  2. During last year’s budget season, the Board of Directors began to identify challenges in the accuracy of fiscal reporting.
  3. As we began to implement the budget in September, the new administration identified some inconsistencies in our budget and “paused” the filling any newly added, non-critical positions.
  4. In November, the district commissioned PFM Consulting Group, a well-respected financial agency, to conduct a fiscal analysis of the past 2 years and prepare a 5-year projection based on this data.

It is the District’s intention to share this analysis publicly, and it will be available on our website for review. (Download here)

  1. The district’s fund balance is nearly exhausted at the end of the current fiscal year.
  2. The district has significant variables that continue to drive expenses higher (PSERS, healthcare, charter school tuition rates, etc.).
  3. Clear district protocols for fiscal management (position control systems, full implementation of financial system, increased oversight of charter school accounting, etc.) are lacking and need to be established.
  4. ASD budget projections show a $28 million deficit for the 2018/2019 school year with no fund balance to cover the cost.

We recognize that this is challenging financial picture to share.   The District has a responsibility to ensure that we meet the academic and safety needs of students, but also a legal responsibility to pass a balanced budget each year. While these two priorities are currently misaligned, I am confident that we will be able to work together to address the District’s fiscal concerns long-term.  In the short-term, we must address the reality of our current financial situation.  We must (and will) find ways to be more fiscally responsible, but our answer cannot be reducing staffing and programs in a way that will be even more harmful to our district, children, and community for the next school year.

We have great partnerships with our local and state civic leaders.  We remain positive about the collaboration that we have with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, our staff, and parents in educating our children.  Our children are our first priority, and we are committed to continuing to provide a quality education to our students, without fail!  I thank you in advance for joining me in this effort to demonstrate our District’s commitment to excellence.

Thomas E. Parker

Superintendent

Allentown School District