Dissinger hired as Patton principal, board approves proposed final budget
● By J. Chambless
By John Chambless
During a meeting at Pocopson Elementary School on May 15, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board voted to appoint a new principal at Patton Middle School, and approved the next-to-last step for next year's budget.
Steve Dissinger, who is currently the principal at Hillendale Elementary School, will become the principal of Charles F. Patton Middle School, effective July 1. His salary will be $148,101.24.
The board voted unanimously for Dissinger, who then addressed the board and his family members in the audience. “I am extremely humbled and appreciative,” he said. “I have spoken to a lot of people, and this has been the most difficult decision in my entire professional life. Hillendale is a wonderful place to work and be a principal. I stand on great shoulders here, particularly Tim Hoffman, the most recent principal of the middle school. It's a daunting challenge when I think about it, and it's an absolute honor. I am grateful and I am excited about this new challenge. Thank you very much.” District superintendent John Sanville said, “We are thrilled that Steve will be the next principal for the middle school. We had an extensive process to find our next principal. We had 60-plus folks apply. Every step along the way, through all the interviews, over a month-long process, head and shoulders above the rest was Steve Dissinger.”
The replacement process for Dissinger at Hillendale is under way. Hoffman was promoted to Director of Curriculum for the district earlier this year.
In the audience at the meeting was State Rep. Eric Roe, who addressed the board at the beginning of the evening. “I'm so proud to represent the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District,” Roe said. “I am proud to see it consistently ranked at the top. I am determined to keep our school funding at the local level, and not let anybody touch that funding. I like local government. Our local districts are much better able to make decisions about school funding, not some government bureaucrat. I'm here tonight to learn,” he told the board, “and we need to keep an open dialogue. I work for you.”
In discussing the proposed final budget, board member Robert Sage and board president Victor Dupuis expressed their support. “I'm very pleased with the efforts of our administration this year in the process and the results of this budget,” Dupuis said. “It was an exhaustively methodical process. I think the methodology we arrived at in terms of taxation was very fair to our taxpayers.”
Board member Gregg Lindner presented his suggestion for a slightly higher tax rate. He proposed “increasing the tax rate from the 2.16 weighted average to 2.34 and provide $100,000 of revenue to reduce the amount of dollars that will be required next year from the unassigned fund balance/PSER fund. This increase, along with any savings from spending in the 2017-18 calendar year, would be able to reduce the risk of a simple math problem that occurs when continuing to spend more than we receive in a given year. We need a realistic program to meet long-term needs and reach 2032 (the end of current debt repayments) without causing damage to the district and without bringing back tiered cuts.
“I do favor the budget plan of the administration,” Lindner said, “but what I'm asking is that we reconsider 2.16 and raise it to 2.34 -- not to spend additional money, but to have those dollars on hand. If I'm wrong, the worst that can happen is that those dollars are there, and next year you can have a smaller tax increase. But I don't think I'll be wrong.”
The final vote to approve the proposed final budget was 8 to 1, with Lindner voting against approval.
The budget calls for total appropriations of $84,932,572. The millage rate in Chester County will be 28.41 mills (a 2.6 percent increase over last year). The millage rate in Delaware County will be 23.63 mills (an increase of 0.30 percent), for a weighted average of 2.16 percent. The final adoption of the budget and levying of real estate taxes is expected to take place at the June 19 school board meeting.
A video of the May 15 meeting, and details about the district's and board's activities, are available at www.ucfsd.org.
To contact Staff Writer John
Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.