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Boyertown School District Passes Final Budget

The clock is ticking for school districts as the deadline to pass their budgets gets closer. By law they need to have their plans in place by the end of June.

Boyertown is one district where the budget battle has been intense. Tuesday night the school board had its final vote at the Boyertown Junior High School East.

Boyertown's business manager said the school district was facing a $6.5 million deficit at the beginning of the budget battle. They filled that gap, but can't say everyone still has a job.

Earlier in the year, the Boyertown Area school district budget battle was marked by student protests and music playing because so many programs were on the chopping block.

The superintendent Dion Betts said before the final vote that those proposed cuts were avoided. "Because of an across the district pay freeze and a modest tax increase we're able to save all the programs and jobs," said Betts. But his plans to save every job fell short. During the school board meeting there were suggestions to change the final budget proposal.

"The IT positions you retained two of them I would request we would only retain one," said school board member John Nichols.

Nichols proposed the elimination of one elementary school IT person to try and save library clerks' benefits.

Taxpayers will have to pay slightly more than the 5.3% that was originally proposed in order to make the numbers match up.

A couple of IT workers were in the audience as they watched that amendment pass and the budget pass by a vote of 5 to 4.

The teachers' union president Barb Biegler walked out of the meeting while the superintendent said it was a moment to celebrate for passing the budget.

"No, I am not happy the teachers gave up two and half years. Two and half years we froze our salaries. We gave up tuition reimbursement for two years," said Biegler.

The president of the teachers' union said they made sacrifices with the idea everyone would stay in place. She's a fourth grade teacher and said one IT person is not just a line item. "You're teaching a lesson on the smart board and something happens there's nobody there to help you," said Biegler.

Before the vote, the school district's business manager, David Szablowski was concerned there might not be 5 votes to pass the budget.

"I was always taught that a successful budget nobody is happy and I think we are there," said Szablowski.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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