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‘Not a Whole Lot Has Changed,’ Superintendent Says of Budget

The school board doesn't discuss the budget at length ... but it will on Feb. 25 and March 18.

The Upper Dublin School Board recommended board approval of the 2013-14 preliminary budget at its work session meeting last night … but there wasn’t much said about it.

About three weeks ago, the school board presented its proposed preliminary budget. The presentation highlighted a budget deficit, a proposed tax increase and likely “broad and comprehensive” cuts.

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At last night’s meeting, Upper Dublin School District Superintendent Michael Pladus said, “Not a whole lot has changed in 21 days … Behind the scenes, I can tell you, not a day goes by when we’re not spending hours trying to come up with budgetary reductions.”

Richard Petruschke, a Fort Washington resident, was the only member in a sparse audience to speak last night. He said he was surprised that the board wasn’t discussing the preliminary budget at the meeting; he went on to ask about the size of the administration and the need for an assistant superintendent.

Pladus responded to most of his comments.

Check out the video.

After the meeting, Petruschke said that the board should do everything it can to prevent a tax increase.

“I picked up a copy of Dr. Pladus’ comments, and [Pladus] said he’s got a really serious problem, and I agree with him,” Petruschke said. “I told him that I go to meetings all the time, and I told him that they were going to have this problem this year, and they really didn’t address the situation … and you know what, next year it’s going to be even worse because they won’t have any reserve fund …"

School Board President Joseph Chmielewski said after the meeting that the board is still early in the budget process; he added that the board will hold budget-centric meetings on Feb. 25 and March 18.

“As we get further into budget process, and we know more, we’ll get more into the big functions of the budget.” 

On parents’ input regarding the budget, Chmielewski said:

“I guess the most feedback from the parents was when the parents met in the cafeteria. We read the comments in Patch, and the printed newspaper, so we read what we can, we try to keep our ear to the ground, I think we know the issues pretty well and we’re trying to address them the best we can. This is a pro-education community and a pro-education board, and we want to keep it going. But we’re also dealing with the world of budget difficulties.”

Realist February 10, 2013 at 11:57 AM
Raise taxes. Raise level of education. Ultimately property values will go up. It's about the children. That's why we live here. If you don't like it, move.
Curmudgeon February 10, 2013 at 12:12 PM
@Realist: I'll never change your mind, bur if we can't take care of ourselves (financially), we can't take care of the children. If you're not worried about incompentence and bad decisions, I can't help. If you don't care how much $$ is spent per child, move to DC, they spend more than we do. How dare you tell me to move. You're intolerance is typical of Liberals who think they have all the answers. How dare you presume why I live here!!! YOU DOLT!!!
Andi Lyn February 10, 2013 at 12:56 PM
I was happy to see that so many people have joined this debate. In my opinion there are far too many people employed by UDSD. Special education office has a DIrector and an Assistant Director and an assistant to the director and three secretaries. As an outsider who have children receiving services I can't understand what all these people are doing. I think the board should be looking really hard at the outdated workforce/ beauracracy that is just choking the budget. How can they be thinking about cutting music and art when they have spent millions on building a performing arts center? I don't get it.
jmf February 10, 2013 at 05:11 PM
I was also happy to read the wonderful exchange of ideas on the many facets of this issue. However, I was disappointed by the single attack (Curmudgeon) on a person's character and political affiliation. I will not retaliate with name calling (even though I lean Republican) because that is not what this is about and, more importantly, is not helpful. Let's stick to the fact: this thread is about our educational system and how to finance it. We need to lead our children by example.
allthingsmatter February 12, 2013 at 06:47 PM
I attended the meeting last evening (Feb. 11). I was dismayed that the idea of cutting 9th grade sports - an activity only 9th graders can do - is "not preferred". However, cutting numerous activities that 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders can do is acceptable. If a 9th grade athlete wants to play a sport, there are township leagues and there is cross country, winter track, and spring track. Plus there are opportuinites to try for JV and Varsity each year they are in high school. With the proposed budget cuts, if a kid is an athlete or involved in performing arts, they will have access to extracurriculars. But for all the rest of the students - too bad for you. It was shown on a slide last evening that cutting 9th grade sports saves more than just reducing a few assistant coaches. If the District felt they could live with the lesser savings of just cutting a few assistant coaches, why not cut the 9th grade sports and save a few of the activities.

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