2020-2021 Final Operating Budget Adoption
Hatboro-Horsham School Board Approves 2020-2021 Final Operating Budget:
The Hatboro-Horsham School Board approved the 2020-2021 School Year Final Budget at its June 22nd, 2020 School Board meeting, a spending plan that will continue to help the district provide high quality education programs at a reasonable cost to the community.
Like most years since the inception of Act 1, balancing the budget within the Act 1 index has been very challenging. Uncertainties with the economic impact and increase in costs related to the impact of the COVID-19 Virus, significant increases in special education costs, staffing and substitute shortage challenges, expansion of our 1 to 1 technology initiative, charter school and Eastern center tuition increases, a new professional staff agreement and pension cost increases are just a few areas that have made the budget balancing process very challenging.
With a lot of hard work on the part of our staff and solid direction and support from our School Board coupled with a continuous commitment to prioritization of need, effective re-allocation of existing resources, value based decision making and a consistent effort to implement strategies that improve efficiency and reduce costs, we have been able to pass a proposed final budget that enhances our educational programs, improves services to our students, parents and the community and provides resources necessary to maintain and improve our facilities while addressing the anticipated negative revenue impact of the COVID-19 virus.
Since the inception of Act 1 in 2007, the Board of School Directors have balanced the budget within the limits of the base Act 1 Index without seeking exceptions. Over the past fourteen years, the average annual tax increase has been limited to 2.26% which is below the average base index of 2.56%. This year, under the terms of Act 1, all school districts were required to keep their tax increases at or below a state index, which was set at 2.6%. Districts that needed to go above that index could seek exceptions or voter approval to do so. Through continued conservative fiscal management, Hatboro-Horsham was able to keep its proposed increase at 1.9%.
The Final 2020-2021 spending plan totals $112,410,934 an increase of $2,347,831 (2.13%) from last year’s budget. To balance the Proposed Final Budget, the School Board agreed to raise the millage rate from 29.464 to 30.024, an increase of 1.9% percent. The School Board directed the Administrative Team to continue to review the proposed budget presented at the May 18, 2020 for opportunities for additional cost reductions and increases in revenue and fund transfers to be able to reach a millage rate increase below 2.0%.The new millage rate under the approved Final Budget will mean the average Hatboro taxpayer’s real estate bill will go up by about $68.69 while the average Horsham taxpayer’s real estate bill will go up by about $101.76. The increase for every $100,000 in assessed property value will be about $56.