result of a much greater-than-expected decline in enrollment
this academic year, the district has 'lost' about $1.3 million
in state financing, according to chief financial officer Michael
Shockley. Most of that is in the way of teacher salaries but
other budget categories dependant on how many students it has
have been adversely affected, he said.
enrollment for this academic year, determined at the end of
September, is 10,557, down from 10,982 a year ago. More
significant, as Delaforum previously reported, the number of
teacher units authorized by the state this year is 22 fewer. The
district geared up for about 10,750 students and just nine fewer
teachers, based on projections it received from the Data Service
Center, which serves it and the three other conventional school
districts in northern New Castle County.
speaking, school districts are allotted one teacher or
equivalent staff member for each 20 students.
said that other Brandywine officials are still trying to
determine why the actual count came in so far off the mark. But,
as a result, he has had to apply a sharp pencil to the
preliminary budget presented last summer.
enrollment "has put us in a worse position that we were before,"
he told the district's financial advisory committee.
now stand, he is projecting revenue from all sources totaling
just over $108 million. The earlier budget put income at about
$109.5 million. Proposed spending is now put at $111.6 million,
down about $200,000 from what initially was proposed.
having characterized the preliminary proposed budget as 'bare
bones', the ability to further reduce it has been impeded by the
necessity to have to pay full salary and benefits to the
unauthorized teachers on the rolls and under contract. The state
pays 65% to 70% of payroll costs for all authorized positions.
support for minor capital spending and technology will be down
this year because special programs in those areas have ended.
Most of a
9.5% increase in budgeted spending this year over last is
accounted for by the start of an extensive building renovation
and modernization program and the construction of running tracks
at the district's three high schools directly financed by a
higher tax authorized by voters at a referendum last May.
bottom line is that the district expects to end this fiscal year
on June 30 with about $2.5 million, or about 2% of its annual
budget, in the bank It stated the year last July with almost
$5.2 million. That is considered a dangerously low surplus by
most public finance standards.
is expected to authorize a referendum, probably in March, 2002,
to increase the operating tax rate. Without that, Shockley
previously has warned, the district is in for some drastic cuts
in its programs and services in the 2002-03 academic year.
is far and away the single most costly item in the district
budget, accounting for 72% of expenditures. Shockley explained
that it is difficult to compare that on a year-to-year basis
because most school salaries are based on length of service and
the mix varies from year-to-year depending on the ratio between
those approaching retirement and the number of recent graduates
totaled, Brandywine has 719 regular and specialized teachers.
Total employment this academic year is 1,191 full time and 121
part time. This is down from 1,221 and 121. respectively, a year
At the Nov. 15 meeting,
superintendent Bruce Harter will recommend hiring Ellen Cooper,
now with the law firm of Morris James Hitchens & Williams, to be
Brandywine's in-house attorney, and Wendy Lapham, of the
International Reading Association, as public information
officer. At the December business meeting, he will recommend
hiring John Chroney, of the state attorney general's office, as