5/26/20 School Board Meeting Guide

Teachers & Administrators Take Voluntary Pay Freeze

The most important news from last night’s special meeting of the East Penn School Board is that both the teachers and administrators have volunteered to take a pay freeze next year in an effort to help save our district’s quality educational programs in this time of crisis. The pay freeze will reduce the overall ($6.1 million) budget deficit by about $1.6 million.

Those who read my posts regularly will know that I see our public schools as part of the foundation of our community. And to me, the willingness of hundreds of professional employees to voluntary forego salary increases for the good of the schools speaks volumes about their own commitment to our community. It demonstrates clearly what many of us have long known: our district is fortunate to have many dedicated educators who put our kids and our community first. As a parent and as a taxpayer, I say thank you. And I look forward to seeing if some of the other employee groups in the district, including the Teamsters, follow the leadership set by these educators.

You can watch Superintendent Campbell’s announcement of the pay freeze here.

Other Budget News

The board spent about two and half hours discussing further updates, concerns, and contingency plans for next year’s budget. This included further details on restructuring some of the district’s debt (documents here; watch presentation here), changes to the proposed final budget (documents here; watch presentation here), and an expansion of the district’s low-income property tax rebate program (watch here).

The budget proposal as it currently stands still includes a 1.5% tax increase. There is now some hope that, with the pay freeze offered by teachers and administrators, two or more of the teaching positions that were previously slated for elimination through attrition might be saved. I would judge these to be the most important takeaways from last night’s budget discussions. But to be honest, we still don’t have as clear a picture of what the final budget will look like as I would like. And, because there remains so much uncertainty around the pandemic, we still don’t have a clear picture of what school itself will look like in the fall.

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