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FCASD Proposed Final Budget for 2020-2021

The 2020-2021 Fox Chapel Area School District proposed final budget calls for budgetary expenditures of $102,008,293. The decrease in expenditures over the 2019-2020 original budget is projected at -$1,794,781 or -1.73%. The proposed final millage rate for 2020-2021 is 19.8686 mills which represents a 1.5% millage increase from the 2019-2020 school year. Each mill generates approximately $3.5 million for the school district.

The School Board approved the 2020-2021 proposed final budget at a special meeting May 27, 2020, and it will be available on the district's website as per the state-required public review period.

The Board may also discuss the proposed final budget at its virtual meetings June 1 and June 8. The Board is expected to pass the final 2020-2021 budget at a meeting held later in June that will be announced. Residents may make public comments during all remote meetings. Instructions on how to participate are available here. The School Board meetings are also livestreamed on the district’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/FCASDweb for residents who just wish to watch the proceedings. 

The 2020-2021 proposed final budget reflects the following:

  • Budget reductions due to reassignment and attritional savings:
    • Temporary reassignment of Act 93/administrative personnel to current O’Hara Elementary open administrative position.
    • Not replacing a retiring member of the technology team. 
    • Realignment in staffing, specifically as it relates to the early retirement incentive from 2018.
    • The facilitator of the Creativity and Literacy Program (CLP) will be a classroom teacher, and the CLP facilitator will be paid via a supplemental contract. 
  • Budget reductions include the elimination of two municipal police officers who serve as school resource officers at Fox Chapel Area High School and Dorseyville Middle School. These positions will be covered by the officers who are part of the district school police force. 
  • The district’s Spanish Immersion pilot program will be paused for new students, and it will move forward with just the current class of rising second-graders.
  • 6.2% increase in tuition costs (the amount the district pays for students to attend cyber schools, charter schools, and special education facilities, as well as A.W. Beattie Career Center).
  • Increase in facilities costs and an $800,000 transfer to the Capital Projects Fund to cover the cost of capital improvement projects in line with the district’s five-year capital improvement plan.
  • Insurance premium increases of:
    • 2.5% for medical coverage
    • 6% for dental coverage
    • 7% for vision coverage
  • The Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) employer contribution rate is set at 34.51% for 2020-2021.
  • This represents a 1.1% decrease in costs from 2019-2020.
  • This accounts for 15.5% of the overall budget.
  • The state reimburses 50% of the costs, which is included under the revenue section.
  • Reductions have been made in expenditure line items, such as meals and refreshments, as well as supplies and equipment, and a freeze has been placed on non-regional conferences that are not paid for with external funds, such as federal programs or grant funds.
  • Reductions have been made in technology expenditures, such as temporarily reduced rates for various software licenses and changes in technology rotation plans. 
  • A reduction has been made to summer programs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the district’s Summer Learning Academy will be online.

Please note that this budget is subject to change between the proposed final budget and the passing of the final budget.

Future Challenges

  • COVID-19 and its economic impact for the current and future budget years is still widely unknown. However, the 2020-2021 budget anticipates a lower collection rate of real estate taxes of 94%, and reduced revenue from the collection of earned income taxes.
  • The contribution to PSERS continues to be a challenge for all school districts in Pennsylvania.
    • The employer contribution rate is set by PSERS trustees, not by the district.
    • The district anticipates paying nearly $45 million in PSERS contributions over the next five years.
    • As of 7/1/2019, the district had $8.7 million of the fund balance committed to PSERS.
      • $1.5 million is to be drawn down at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
      • $750,000 is planned to be drawn down in 2020-2021 to go toward balancing the budget.
  • Capital projects/construction:
    • As of 7/1/2019, the district had $10.5 million of the fund balance assigned for capital projects.
      • $1.8 million is to be drawn down at the end of the 2019-2020 school year to cover costs associated with paving projects, security improvements, and Kerr construction.
      • $1.5 million is planned to be drawn down in 2020-2021 for projects relating to the five-year capital improvement plan and the Fox Chapel Area High School paving project.

Gaming Funds Distribution

The gaming funds distribution will be released before the final budget is approved. The district received notice from the state that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, previously released figures relating to the gaming funds distribution will be revised, and new amounts will be provided on or after June 1, 2020.