By Steven Hoffman
Joseph Lubitsky, the director of administrative services for the Chester County Intermediate Unit, made a presentation about the intermediate unit’s proposed 2014-2015 budget to the Oxford Area School District’s board of directors on March 11.
The CCIU board of directors is scheduled to adopt the $18.4 million budget later this week. Lubitsky said that the twelve Chester County school districts that receive services from the CCIU will see an overall increase of slightly less than one percent in costs for those services.
Oxford’s contribution to the core budget will be $20,587, a slight decrease from the current year. The calculation to determine the core budget contribution takes into account average enrollment and a district’s aid ratio from the state.
Lubitsky said that the Intermediate Unit’s budget is being impacted by some of the same cost increases that are impacting the local school districts. The Intermediate Unit projects that its contribution to the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) is going up by $399,000. The Intermediate Unit has a self-funding health care benefit system that has helped save money, but this year, health care costs are going up by an estimated $807,668—in part because of changes related to the Affordable Care Act.
The Intermediate Unit has also seen about $891,097 in reimbursements from the state delayed because the Plancon process has been halted by the state.
To meet these financial challenges, Lubitsky said, the Intermediate Unit has outsourced some staff positions by forming a variety of partnerships, and reorganized some programs and divisions to increase efficiency.
Providing programs and services that meet the needs of the school districts is another way for the Intermediate Unit to balance its budget.
Enrollment in the Intermediate Unit’s occupational education program stands at 1,009 students, up from 968 last year and just 779 in the 2007-2008 school year. For the next school year, the occupational education budget is going up by $435,682 to $24,574,830.
The Intermediate Unit tracks enrollment by school based on a three-year average, and Oxford’s three-year average has increased from 69 students to 85 students, and is expected to next increase to over 100 students.
“Our programs continue to be popular and we continue to attract students from around the county,” Lubitsky said.
The intermediate unit’s marketplace budget, which is funded as school districts utilize more than 400 different services that it provides, is projected to increase to $134 million for 2014-2015. That’s an increase of $12,953,991 over the current year. Oxford is projected to spend $5,255,750 in marketplace services next year.
“You’re a very important client and we’re pleased that you find the services are meeting needs,” Lubitsky said.