ASD forced to dip further into fund balance for 2015 budget

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Allentown School District will have to procure an additional $2.1 million to make ends meet on its 2014-2015 budget.

The cash-strapped school district will pull the money out of its fund balance as a result of a state budget that contains Ready to Learn Block Grant funding less than what Gov. Corbett's proposed budget designated in February,

That's what Jack Clark, the district's chief financial officer, told the board of directors during its Thursday night meeting.

The increase brings the total amount of funds the district has to come up with from its fund balance to over $4.3 million and reduces the remaining fund balance from $10.9 million to $6.5 million.

Officials added they expected to receive additional funding courtesy of Pennsylvania Senator Pat Browne that will offset some of the funds the district must come up with.

The disparaging news could actually be worse in the future, according to Clark.

"The future looks grim," he said at one point.

Adding that directors should be "very concerned" about the continued trends of escalating expenditures over which the district has no control, Clark provided projected budget estimates that in his estimation will require additional layoffs of ASD employees, and tax increases on the city's property owners of at least 3.2 percent through Fiscal Year 2019.

Clark's projections also include a fund balance that will be completely depleted by Fiscal Year 2016.

"It's a tough situation," determined Clark.

In other business Thursday night, the board voted to have principals designated at two elementary schools -- Lehigh Parkway Elementary and Lincoln Early Childhood Center -- after the administration of Superintendent C. Russell Mayo had requested one individual - William Seng - serve as principal of both schools.

The board previously voted to approve Mayo's recommendation by a 6-1 margin with Director CeCe Gerlach dissenting, but reversed that decision after Director David Zimmerman announced the district would receive about $346,000 from Verizon after settling a billing dispute. 

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Allentown, PA 18102




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