Avon Grove School Board approves budget opt-out resolution
By Steven Hoffman
On Dec. 13, the Avon Grove School Board completed what has been a busy and sometimes challenging year with its final meeting of 2018. The planning for a new high school dominated many of the meetings for 2018, but the final meeting of the year found the board handling more routine tasks.
The school board approved the accelerated budget opt-out resolution, a procedural measure that establishes the board's intention to remain within the Act 1 Index limit when the budget for 2019-2020 is adopted.
Superintendent Dr. Christopher Marchese explained that by approving the budget opt-out resolution, the district can now proceed with a normal budgeting process. If a school district in Pennsylvania wants to exceed the Act 1 Index, it would need to seek approval for the tax increase through a referendum during the primary election. That would require the school district to adopt its preliminary budget earlier in the year than what would be typical. A final budget must be approved by June 30.
In his superintendent's report, Dr. Christopher Marchese said that the senior volunteer program is running very strong now, with more than 50 seniors who reside in the district participating. In November, the seniors contributed more than 100 volunteer hours to the district. Marchese said that the seniors are very helpful, and volunteer in many different ways: They help out at chorale events and at community dinners. Other seniors volunteered at recent book fairs and at a STEM event. Another volunteer used his photography skills to document the work of students during a community event.
Continuing his report, Marchese also talked about student enrollment in the district. The current enrollment stands at 5,076 students district-wide.
The Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) recognized the Avon Grove School District for excellence in budget presentation for the 2018-2019 school year. ASBO presents awards to help promote good budget presentation practices.
Zoe Frantz, one of the student representatives to the Avon Grove School Board, recently completed a training program at the Chester County Intermediate Unit to help her learn to carry out the duties of a student representative. School board member Bonnie Wolff presented a certificate to Frantz, and thanked her putting in the extra work to get the training.
The school board formally accepted the PlanCon A and PlanCon B letters from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Division of School Facilities, regarding the high school project. The PlanCon process will help the school district receive reimbursement from the state for portions of the construction costs.
The school board also approved a number of personnel items, some student-teacher assignments, and several overnight trip requests.
The school board will hold a retreat on Jan. 5. The next regular meeting will take place on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m.