UCF audit shows $2.2M surplus from 2016-17

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By JP Phillips, Staff Writer, The Times

Unionville-Chadds Ford School District Director of Business and Operations Bob Cochran discussion finace options with the school board, Monday night.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — Much of Monday night’s Unionville Chadds-Ford School Board work session was spent discussing district finances.

Director of Business and Operations Bob Cochran explained that a preliminary audit of the 2016-17 budget shows a $2.2 million surplus.  $1 million was due to health care savings.  Since the district self-funds employee health care, it realizes any savings as well as any deficits.  The other major savings was a $900,000 special education overestimate, as charter school attendance (and therefore payments) for students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) was lower than projected.

Cochran explained that there were several options for the board to utilize this one-time surplus; adding to either the Fund Balance (miscellaneous), the Capital Reserve Fund (building projects), or a combination of the two.  He recommended transferring the money to the district’s Capital Reserve Fund which will be used to fund building projects already planned. This allows for maximum flexibility in the timing for borrowing money for the projects, allowing the district to act when rates are most favorable. The board members in attendance agreed, and since three members were absent (Daniels, Day, and Lindner), they will discuss this further and wait until the November board meeting to vote.

Cochran explained that the district’s objective is to have actual spending within 2 percentage points of the projected budget.  While the district was off this year (96.7%) the track record has been good, especially over the last four years.

Board member Robert Sage concurred, stating, “I don’t think it reflects overly conservative budgeting, I think it reflects sensible budgeting.”  Sage also pointed out that the board deciding not to authorize the highest allowable tax rate turned out to be the right decision.

Sage also noted the favorable revenue collection situation the district is in, due largely to a smart software purchasing decision.  The software facilitates collecting school tax dollars from mortgage escrow processing companies.  Since the collections are happening earlier, the money (and any interest) is in the district’s coffers instead of the escrow company’s.

Cochran also presented projections for 2018-19 building allocations.  This annual per-pupil amount is provided to each school for items such as student supplies, copies, worksheets, and other items decided by each principal. He noted that the $198 is on par with the amount given back in 2005-6. He attributed this to the cost-savings of using more technology in the classroom.

In other news, the Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds Rick Hostetler is putting out a bid to explore the middle school, high school, and Unionville Elementary campuses. This study would examine the footprint of the buildings, athletic facilities, roads and parking areas to look for areas for improvement to be acted on over the next ten years. Board member Jeff Hellrung wanted to ensure the study looked at the efficacy of another artificial turf field, and board president Vic Dupuis sought an action plan for the near the corner of Route 82 and Doe Run Road, which is in a serious state of disrepair.

Dave Listman in the District’s Communications and Stakeholder Integration group pointed out numerous community outreach events, all open to the public. UPRISE is sponsoring their next speaker series entitled “Talking to your child about their learning differences” on October 11th.

FOCUS is presenting a teen mental health and suicide prevention program on October 12th.  The PTO Advisory Council meets on October 24th at 7PM, and Brain-Based Strategies, a program presented in partnership with the Franklin Institute, is on November 8th.  Brain-based Strategies discusses the how the elementary-school-age brain works and how teachers (and parents) can incorporate specific strategies into their interactions for better results.  Most meeting and acronym information can be found at the bottom of this article.

On the subject of community, board member Jeff Hellrung commented on last week’s Homecoming Football game — where Unionville extended its undefeated season by edging neighboring West Chester Rustin, 28-21.  It was an wonderful family event, he noted.

Dupuis added that another upcoming event in the same vein is the Senior Night Varsity football game against Great Valley on October 27th at 7PM.  All graduating football players, cheerleaders, and band members with their families are honored.

Next up:  School Board Meeting 7:30PM on Monday, October 23rd at Unionville Elementary. All board meetings are open to the public.  They are broadcasted live (and archived) on the UCFSD web site.

Board documents related to the work session:  http://www.boarddocs.com/pa/uncf/Board.nsf/public

UPRISE (Unionville Parents Resources and Information for Special Education) on October 11th: http://www.ucfsd.org/sped/uprise.html

FOCUS (Family Outreach Committee of the Unionville Chadds-Ford School District) Teen mental health and suicide prevention discussion on October 12th: http://ucfsd-community-news.blogspot.com/2017/10/minding-your-mind-teen-suicide-and-13.html

Brain-based Strategies on November 8th: http://ucfsd-community-news.blogspot.com/2017/09/brain-based-strategies-in-education-and.html

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