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2021-2022 Budget Approved

The board of school directors approved the 2021-22 general fund budget during their June 22 meeting. Balanced at $350,477,179, the budget includes a 1.5% millage increase. The average homeowner’s property taxes will increase by $74 as a result. District Business Manager Brian Loftus presented his final review of the 2021-22 general fund budget to the board during the June 22 meeting. 

Budget preparations that began in November of 2020 revealed a $6 million dollar gap, closed in part with federal aid dollars through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grant. The district also saw a modest .5% in property assessment growth, which includes assessment reductions from large commercial property appeals. Current earned income taxes, while expected to be reduced in the current year by fallout from the pandemic, have instead returned to more normal levels. Interim real estate taxes and transfer taxes, helped along by a robust real estate marketplace, are also steady. Overall, 65% of the district’s anticipated revenue comes from local real estate taxes.

Expenditures increased by 4.1% over last year’s budget and 2.4% over 2019-2020 levels. About 80% of the district’s overall budget is expended on salaries and benefits, with 78% of salaries dedicated to individuals working directly with students in Central Bucks classrooms.

Notable expenditure increases in 2021-22 include investments in the new reading and writing curriculum, completion of the district’s one to one device rollout, increases in charter school tuition costs, and a significant rate increase associated with contracted transportation services. The budget includes $4.4 million dollars in debt service payments, reduced by $1 million dollars through a debt refinance. Central Bucks’ remaining debt stands at $11 million, expected to be eliminated over the next five years. The district hopes to avoid issuance of debt by continuing to infuse the capital reserves with funds aimed at future capital improvements and maintenance.

Mr. Loftus also reminded the board of the administration’s overall budget goals during his presentation: provide a safe environment for learning, assess and remediate learning losses following the pandemic, focus on social and emotional wellness, fund the one to one student device program completion, implement the new elementary reading and writing curriculum, and invest in capital improvements. He praised the board and administration for their commitment to ensuring the long-term fiscal stability of the district by reducing expenditures where possible, investing in healthy financial reserves for capital improvements and other critical needs, and exercising fiscal intelligence through aggressive debt reduction and refinance. The general fund budget documents and presentations may be reviewed on the district’s website at www.cbsd.org/budget.