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Press briefing: Regular meeting of the Board of School Directors — Jan. 25, 2016

STATE COLLEGE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT MEDIA RELEASE


Jan. 22, 2015


CONTACT:

Chris Rosenblum

SCASD Communications Director

jcr19@scasd.org

(814) 272-8699


SCASD Board of School Directors

To Vote On Approving 2016-2017 Preliminary Budget


On Monday, Jan. 25, the State College Area School District Board of Directors will vote on approving the 2016-2017 Preliminary Budget that includes a tax increase reflecting the State High referendum debt service schedule.

In other matters, the Board will vote to approve bid awards for asbestos removal in the ongoing Panorama Village building renovation, a revised Policy 138-English as a Second Language and an amended contract for development and fundraising services with Paul Olivett, who manages the district’s development office.

Additionally, the Board will hear a project update on the high school construction, review applying for an Act 1 Index tax exceptions and discuss revisions to Policy 819-Suicide Awareness, Prevention and Response.


2016-2017 Preliminary Budget

 

     In advance of the Jan. 27 state-mandated deadline for adopting a preliminary budget, the Board is set to vote on approving the district’s 2016-2017 Preliminary Budget.

     The budget includes a 4.32 percent real estate tax increase, which would mean the average district taxpayer with an assessed value of $71,985 would pay $130 more than during the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

     The increase combines the Act I Index of 2.4 percent — the maximum property tax allowed for the district — with Act I exceptions meant to satisfy the State High referendum debt service schedule. By law, the district must levy the full Act I Index before applying for exceptions.

     Principal payments for the $85 million referendum debt begin in 2016-2017, resulting in a $1.7 million increase in debt payments.

Under the preliminary budget, the millage rate will increase to 43.473 — 1.799 more than in 2015-2016. The district projects $143,684,629 in revenue and $143,135,910 in expenses.

     The Board is expected to vote on applying for Act 1 referendum exceptions on Feb. 8, three days before the state deadline for doing so.

     The proposed 2016-2017 Final Budget will be presented to the Board on April 25. A vote is expected on May 9.

     A public hearing for the final budget is scheduled for June 6, and the Board expects to vote on adopting the budget on June 13.

 

State High Project update

     Director of Physical Plant Ed Poprik will summarize the current work being done at the high school.

     With construction contracts signed, the “Notice to Proceed” was issued Jan. 13, starting the official contract clock counting down 1,275 days until the project’s completion.

     The week of Jan. 18, contractors began installing fences around the South Building parking lot, which will be closed to traffic and pedestrians, and building an alternate student walking path along the east side of the construction zone near O’Bryan Lane. They also have started isolating a boarded-up South Building section, the first to be demolished, in preparation for full-scale demolition in the near future.

     During the project’s early stage, many trees must be removed. Among them are “class trees,” most of which were planted as part of first grade tree planting ceremonies. Some were donations from previously graduated classes.

     Of the 33 designated class trees:

  • six likely will remain safe.

  • five died previously and were not replaced.

  • five were removed recently for the North Building temporary parking.

  • 17 likely will be removed soon.

     To compensate for the 27 trees that either no longer exist or will go soon, the district is planning a rededication ceremony to plant replacement trees. The plan is for the ceremony to coincide with the 2016 first grade tree planting ceremony in May, both of which probably will take place at Community Field to avoid conflicting with construction.

     Landscaping plans call for 260 new trees to be planted on the high school grounds:

  • 97 trees around the north campus grounds

  • 23 trees in south campus internal courtyards

  • 140 new trees on south campus grounds

     The new trees will represent 33 species/cultivars with a variety of shapes, sizes, fall colors and landscape characteristics.

In addition, more than 137 shrubs of various types will be planted on the school grounds. Steeper slope areas will sport low-maintenance groundcovers, and native, low-maintenance grasses will grow in stormwater basins.

     Poprik also will explain a few of the anticipated “value engineering change orders” in the coming months that the project team hopes will lead to $1.5 million to $2 million in project savings. One recommendation will be eliminating a plan for a South Building system that would capture rainwater from the roof, store it in a tank and then use it for the flushing of toilets. Deleting the system, which isn’t required for the LEED grant submission process, would save $152,300.