Blue Ridge board takes first look at budget



The Blue Ridge School Board is getting their first look at a preliminary budget that currently has a $1.4 million deficit.
Superintendent Matthew Button said the projected revenue for the district is $17.7 million and expenditures are projected at $19.1 million.
The projected revenues are based on a flat-lined budget – one with no increases over the current year’s funding, offered district business director Brian Dolan.
Button said the board had three options available to them to address the deficit: program or project reductions; increased millage; or tapping into the district’s fund balance.
He drew the board’s attention to several areas the district has been discussing, such as safety improvements, capital projects, the addition of new staff positions, special education, technology and maintenance.
In the area of safety, Button said that following the review of the Blue Ridge campus by Pennsylvania State Police, the district address 25 items suggested to increase safety at little to no cost. But he said, there are 128 items on the list that have not been addressed – largely due to the cost of those projects – that would cost the district about $200,000.
He also said the capital projects – such as the rooftop, generator, and parking lots – could be funded from the capital reserve.
The superintendent said the district’s is using an outdated system and more web-based systems are available. He estimated the cost of transitioning to an updated system at about $40,000 but said there are indications that price could be decreasing making the pricetag go down to the $25,000 range.
Button said the maintenance department’s dump truck is now 18 years old and would cost about $70,000 to replace.
The board is expected to take a closer look at the proposed preliminary budget in the next month.
The board appointed Shawn Carey of New Milford Borough to fill the Region 1A seat vacated in February by Christina Whitney.
Other measures before the board included:
*approved a donation for $2,500 for the Blue Ridge Recreation 2017 summer program;
*approved M&S Driving School LLC to assist Blue Ridge students with online classwork and behind the wheel instruction for the 2017-18 school year;
*approved a photography proposal from Endless Mountains Stdios for photography services for the 2017-18 school year;
*approved a lease with Topp Copy for copier services from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2022;
*accepted the notice of intent to retire, with regret, from Tom Lews and Lynnette Daniels at the end of the 2016-17 school year;
*accepted the resignation of Elizabeth Guerrero at the end of the 2016-17 school year;
*committed the following fund balances: Future pension obligations – $1.934,355; Future debt service – $1,300,000; Capital improvements – $2,000,000; Future health insurance obligations – $1,105,000;
*approved the independent audit performed by Murphy, Dougherty & Co for the period ending June 30, 2016;
*approved multiple board policies; and opened several policies up for 30-day review.

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