The Central Bucks Board Note
April 2020 ~ Vol. 2, No. 7
Virtual School Board Meetings
Meetings of the Central Bucks School District Board of School Directors will be conducted remotely and recorded for public review while the governor's stay at home order is in effect. Meeting agendas and minutes are published online via BoardDocs here. Audio recordings of the meeting will be posted to the district’s website at www.cbsd.org/boardmtg within 24 hours of its conclusion. Please look for meeting notices on the district's website prior to the meeting date; a link will be published within the notice so that public comment may be submitted to the board in advance.
K-12 Guidance Plan Approved
The board approved the Central Bucks K-12 Guidance Plan (Chapter 339 Plan) during their virtual meeting on April 28 (a draft of the plan was presented to the board's curriculum committee in February). The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) requires all school districts to have a K-12 School Counseling Plan as part of Chapter 339 of the Pennsylvania School Code.
Chapter 339 outlines the requirement that Pennsylvania school districts have a plan of comprehensive school counseling services for all students. The plan documents the mission, stakeholders, counselor roles, goals, curriculum and delivery system of the school counseling program. In addition, the plan focuses on career readiness and includes a career plan, portfolio and strategies to engage with the local career and technical center. Read more about the requirements of Chapter 339 on PDE's website.
Beginning in the Spring of 2018, a committee of over twenty school counselors made a two-year long commitment volunteering their time and efforts to develop this comprehensive counseling plan for the Central Bucks School District. This group of dedicated professionals attended state-sponsored training sessions, participated in committee meetings and work sessions, and compiled extensive data detailing the role of a counselor and the many, many activities and programs supported by the counseling staff in each of Central Bucks' 23 schools.
Assistant Superintendent for Assessment, Professional Development, and Educational Services Dr. Alexis McGloin and Ginny Barrett led the committee of school counselors who prepared the plan. Ginny Barrett guided the board through a detailed presentation of the plan's components, preparation, goals, and long-term objectives.
Essentially, the plan is intended to serve the academic, social emotional, and career development needs of students by providing for the necessary education and personal development in these areas. PDE outlines and clearly dictates what is to be included in the plan.
Central Bucks' plan was also essential in outlining a number of ways to address the social and emotional wellness needs of the district, such as the addition of two social workers, as approved by the board this year. The plan suggests areas of growth, including pushing the district's "Student Success Plan" down to seventh and eighth grade, and the use of "alumni tracker" component of the Naviance software, in order to gather valuable data on graduates after they leave CBSD.
Career education is a primary focus. Ms. Barrett mentioned several goals in this area, including a focus on "pathway identification," in course selection aimed at helping students choose long-term goal-oriented courses, and career education at the elementary level. Ideally, she explained, these activities will be integrated across the curriculum, including a shared delivery of lessons by teachers and counselors in order to help students achieve career readiness goals. The plan includes methods to provide evidence that the district is making progress, including digital images of student career portfolios. Career and technical standards and study are also key to the plan, and Central Bucks has established goals to create opportunities for students to explore career and technical study earlier in their school careers.
“Research shows that if a student early on learns where their interests are, what they like to do and what gives them joy, what gives them happiness, and they are supported in that, then this helps their mental health perspective,” Ms. Barrett explained, “They can find their group, their niche that they can pursue and it gives them some focus.”
In developing the plan, the committee also engaged representatives from five stakeholder groups: students, parents, educators, business and community, and post-secondary. This K-12 Plan Advisory Council will meet twice per year in order to share ideas and gather ongoing input. Several components of the plan will be subjected to revision annually. The plan will also be subjected to audit by PDE.
Board Approves Proposed Final Budget with No Tax Increase
The Board approved a proposed final 2020-2021 operating budget of $340,897,734 with no tax increase recommended. The proposed final budget may be reviewed in its entirety on the district’s website.
Central Bucks School District's Business Administrator Brian Loftus explained that while the budget is recommended with no tax increase, over the past six weeks, the economic outlook of the country, the state, and the school district have changed dramatically.
“The impact of the [COVID-19] pandemic on the district’s revenues will be significant and severe,” he said, “Difficult decisions will need to be made as we balance our duty as good stewards of taxpayer money with the ambitious educational goals of the district and first and foremost, the safety of our students and staff. That said, while the situation presents many challenges, the mission and the vision of the district remain unchanged.”
Mr. Loftus walked the board through a detailed presentation of the proposed final budget, including drastic changes in anticipated revenue. The pandemic’s impact on the local economy will impact real estate tax revenue through reductions in collection rates, potential reassessments, and reduced assessment value growth. A significant slowing of real estate activity will also cause a reduction in proceeds from transfer and interim taxes.
A growing unemployment rate will drive reductions in earned income tax revenue, while investment income will also be diminished. Previously anticipated state subsidy increases may not materialize as the Commonwealth manages the crisis’ impact on its own budget, that depends largely on income taxes. Overall, revenue projections for the coming year are projected to be $9.2 million less than levels anticipated when the preliminary budget was approved prior to the pandemic. However, the final impact of the crisis is simply not yet known.
Expenditures are overall very flat over those budgeted for the 2019-2020 school year, with a decrease of 2% from the approved preliminary budget. The district’s PSERS contribution rate and healthcare costs continue to rise and make the most significant impact on the district’s expenditures. Mr. Loftus mentioned a positive note in the form of the district’s debt management, primarily due to the board’s debt defeasance efforts, which have positioned the district to better face the economic downturn.
As approved by the Board of School Directors, the 2020-2021 budget reflects a zero percent tax increase for the sixth consecutive year, and seventh in the past eight years. Final budget approval is scheduled for the June 23, 2020 meeting of the Board of School Directors. Follow the budget preparation and download previous presentations on the district's website here.
Listen to the most recent school board meeting in its entirety, and view presentations delivered during the meeting.
Central Bucks School District
The members of the Central Bucks School District's Board of School Directors each represent one of nine regions in the district. Each region includes one or more municipality. While each region elects one school director, members represent the interests of the district as a whole once elected.
Meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month except for February, July, August, October, November and December. In February, the board will meet on the first and fourth Tuesdays. In July and August, the board meets on the fourth Tuesday only. In October, the board will meet on the third and fifth Tuesdays. In November, the board meets on the second Tuesday only. In December, the board meets on the first Tuesday only. Meetings are being held virtually at this time, look for meeting notices on the district's website, which will include a link for submitting public comment.
Correspondence for the Board of School Directors should be sent to Stephanie Radcliffe, Secretary to the Board, at email@example.com.
The "Central Bucks Board Note," is an e-newsletter designed to provide Central Bucks School District constituents with an overview of the work of their Board of School Directors.
Please share any feedback with Angela Linch, communications and public relations administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 267-893-2073.