Upper St. Clair School Board Tuesday approved the district’s 2020-21 proposed final budget with a real estate tax rate of 26.8787 mills, a 1.9% increase of 0.5012 mills.
For an owner of property valued at $300,000, the increase means paying an extra $150.36. The budget totals $87.55 million, and the board plans to vote on its adoption at a public meeting scheduled for 8 a.m. June 29.
“This year’s budget process has been the most challenging that I have seen in my 21 years in public education,” Superintendent John Rozzo said. “The impact of the pandemic has created great uncertainty around revenue streams as well as substantial revenue losses totaling more than $1 million.”
The proposed final budget includes a staffing reduction of seven current positions and four proposed positions, including reductions in the areas of operations, teaching and administration. Most position eliminations were accomplished through attrition.
All district administrators have agreed to a voluntary pay freeze. In addition, substantial cuts, totaling more than $700,000, have been made to the professional development, technology, operations and supplies budgets.
“These economic pressures are not isolated to Upper St. Clair,” Scott Burchill, director of finance, said. “School districts throughout Pennsylvania and the nation are grappling with similar budget challenges. While we are hopeful that the nation’s economy will rebound, we must prepare for a multi-year impact.”
In addition to approving the 2020-21 proposed final budget, the school board approved the creation of a Sustaining Excellence Ad Hoc Committee that will focus on the long-term viability of the district.
“Throughout the last few months, I have been beyond impressed with the level of innovation and adaptability from our students, families and staff,” Rozzo said. “The education of our community’s children has always been a shared responsibility. This reality is stronger now than ever before and is exemplified by the extraordinary collaboration of all of our stakeholders.”
The 2020-21 proposed final budget is available on the district’s website and at the district’s administrative building, 1775 McLaughlin Run Road, for members of the public to peruse prior to the spending plan’s adoption, which is required by June 30.
“We will continue to evaluate revenue projections and analyze the potential for savings while closely monitoring variables such as enrollment, class size, state and federal mandates, students’ needs, and other factors that impact student learning,” Rozzo said.