Introduction Developing and administering a budget is one of the most important and challenging duties facing any school district. This is particularly true for Derry Township School District. The district derives a relatively low percentage of its revenues from state and federal sources. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, on average Pennsylvania public school districts receive about 39% of their revenues in state subsidies. Comparatively, Derry Township School District receives just 14% of its revenue from the state. The School Board and administration strive to maintain the high quality of education our students deserve. But we never lose sight of the fact that 86 cents of every dollar in the budget comes from local taxpayers.
Our goal is to be a national model for public education.
That includes demonstrating exemplary fiscal management.
Building a Budget
The district’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. The district begins developing the budget for the subsequent fiscal year in late summer and the process concludes in June when the board adopts the final budget. Over these months, district and building administrators internally review existing and proposed educational programs that will drive the district forward in meeting the educational needs of its students. The board’s finance committee holds several meetings from September through May/June to discuss the budget and solicit input from the public.
At its Monday, June 10 meeting, the DTSD Board of School Directors adopted a final 2013-14 School Year budget that would freeze real estate taxes at their current level. This action marks the third time in five years the district has frozen taxes. As a result, the millage rate is among the lowest in all of Dauphin County – more than a full mill below the county average.
The $55,368,261 budget incorporates a variety of cost containments (including staffing reductions through attrition) while continuing to provide the framework needed to address the district’s strategic needs in providing academic excellence.
At its Monday, June 11, 2012 meeting, the Derry Township Board of School Directors passed a $52,9 million spending plan that preserves educational excellence while trimming more than $800,000 from its proposed preliminary budget.
In conjunction with the budget, the board established a real estate millage rate of 17.551 mills. A mill represents $150 in taxes for the average property owner in Derry Township. Derry Township School District has raised taxes only twice in the last four budget cycles, allowing it to maintain a millage rate below the current Dauphin County average.