The Colonial Intermediate Unit presented its annual budget to the Saucon Valley School Board in its meeting on Tuesday night.
The agency strives to provide efficient and effective special needs and education services to schools with Northampton, Monroe and Pike counties.
Dr. Charlene Brennan, executive director of the Colonial Intermediate Unit, began her presentation to the board by assuring them that there was a 0 percent increase in their expected contribution for the third year in a row. Next, she showed a video of photos from the past year of events including their extensive Special Olympics program, multi-disability program, early intervention classes for 3 to 5 year olds, scholars ceremony, formal dance and behavioral health programs.
The budget presented to the Saucon Valley School Board is one of 45 annual budgets that the Intermediate Unit administers in addition to the health trust that they operate. Saucon Valley's contribution is approximately $20,000 and is based on the size of the school district. Bethlehem School District contributes the most and Pen Argyl School District, the least.
Contributions are used to cover human resources, curriculum enhancement, staff training and direct program costs. Increased costs were managed by cuts, including the elimination of at least one full-time position. The Intermediate Unit had preemptively set aside money in a reserve account to handle their rising Public School Employee Retirement System contributions, as those continue to grow. They had also seen increased costs in their health care due to larger claims from their employees. Brennan said that this trend was decreasing and there was no need to increase the contribution burden on the school districts.
The Colonial Intermediate Unit holds regular meetings with representatives from each school board and Brennan noted that the representative from Saucon Valley was particularly involved in their work.