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Enough is enough Editor, Ephrata Review, Brian L. Hoffman Ephrata
My concern is the recent article concerning the Ephrata Area School Board and the tentative budget calling for another .4 mil increase for the 7/1/13-6/30/13 school year. Your reporter went to great lengths in order to convey the board’s position as relayed by the board president.
The article spelled out his perceived long-term gloom and doom financial picture of the EASD. What the reporter failed to present were the factual financial balances as of June 30, 2012, according to the audited financial statements available on the district website.
The reporter also failed to present commentary from a sampling of the tax paying public. I believe the first item to be of importance because the district maintains "Allocated and Unallocated" funds totaling more than $22,000,000. already. Those are tax dollars they have taken from property owners, which were not required to meet the district’s expenses last year. While the annual future budgeted expenses may exceed the anticipated receipts, the district has positioned itself so they may draw money from those "Allocated Fund Balances" annually, thereby balancing the budget for the next 4-5 years without having to increase the current tax burden.
I have always been afraid of government’s good intentions when it comes to extra dollars and I believe it is the primary reason the school code limits public schools to unallocated fund balances of 8 percent of the annual budgeted expenses. That would limit EASD to $9,000,000+, while they maintain $22,000,000+. When government has extra money, they spend it and then ask you for more. In short, while I feel our district needs to have a contingent reserve to meet the short term anticipated increases, enough is enough!
I implore the elected officials on the school board to introduce a motion recommending a zero mil increase budget at the next committee meeting and voting board meeting. You will need another person to second your motion and call for a vote. You will then need a total of five board members to vote along with you. It is not a requirement that elected board members must agree to vote along with their president and leadership. There is no rule, which requires all board members to vote "Yea" on any public vote. Each of you does have the right to stand alone with your vote. Sheep might follow blindly, but nine elected board members shouldn’t, in my opinion.
I feel that should the reporter have taken a random poll of EASD taxpayers and presented those results in print, the board members would receive additional information, which is important to carrying out their duties.