Catasauqua Press

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

School board OKs proposed budget

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 by Samantha Anderson sanderson@tnonline.com in Local News

In dual-county district, one area could see tax increase, other might not

During a May 12 virtual meeting, Catasauqua Area School District Board of Education approved the proposed final 2020-21 budget with a unanimous vote.

The proposed final budget estimates general expenditures of $33,145,795 and balances anticipated revenues and expenditures.

During the budget presentation, Superintendent of Schools Robert Spengler noted the budget may still be subject to changes or clarifications.

“This was the toughest budget I’ve ever done, given this ‘crystal ball’ situation we’re in,” Spengler said, referring to the necessary guesswork required to put together a budget in a pandemic. “I think it’s very responsible.”

Spengler’s goal was for the budget to reflect a zero-percent tax increase. Since CASD is a dual-county district, there is a necessary rebalancing that occurs. Due to this, residents in Lehigh County may see a tax increase while Northampton County residents may not.

The general goals for the 2020-21 budget involve safety and security, academic offerings and class size, arts integration, the stadium project and other facility projects.

Spengler noted they had to adjust the original budget due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the adjustments include an increase in Title I funds as well as reductions of earned income, parking and real estate taxes, lowered facility rentals and a decrease in the transportation subsidy. According to Spengler, the budget reflects a net amount of $952,000 in adjusted revenue.

Some elements still represented in the budget are the cost of doing business, such as benefits, charter school tuition and Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21, Lehigh Career and Technical Institute and Lehigh Carbon Community College.

Some additions for next year are a third school resource officer, an additional behavioral health professional, additional fourth- and eighth-grade teachers to reduce class sizes and replacements for retirees. The budget also addresses an increase in elective offerings at Catasauqua High School and technological needs.

The stadium renovation project is accounted for in the budget as well as other facility projects, such as lockers and carpeting at Catasauqua Middle School, sidewalk improvements at Sheckler Elementary and improvements to doors and gymnasium bleacher seats at CHS.

Spengler reported the administration adjusted the budget down $918,572 to match the lessened revenue expected.

The budget will be posted on the school district website, cattysd.org, for the public to view.

It is expected the board will adopt the final budget at the June 11 meeting.