May 27, 2020
USC School Board approves proposed final budget
The Upper St. Clair School Board approved the district’s 2020-21 proposed final budget totaling $87,553,623 with a millage rate of 26.8787, a 1.9 percent increase of 0.5012 mills, during its meeting on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.
“This year's budget process has been the most challenging that I have seen in my 21 years in public education,” Dr. John T. Rozzo, superintendent of schools, said. “The impact of the pandemic has created great uncertainty around revenue streams as well as substantial revenue losses totaling more than $1 million.”
The proposed final budget includes a staffing reduction of seven current positions and four proposed positions - including reductions in the areas of operations, teaching and administration. Most position eliminations were accomplished through attrition.
“We have had to make difficult decisions – including the elimination of several positions - in order to deliver a fiscally responsible budget that safeguards the quality of our educational program,” Dr. Rozzo said.
All district administrators have agreed to a voluntary pay freeze. In addition, substantial cuts – totaling more than $700,000 – have been made to the professional development, technology, operations and supplies budgets.
“These economic pressures are not isolated to Upper St. Clair,” Scott Burchill, director of finance, said. “School districts throughout Pennsylvania and the nation are grappling with similar budget challenges. While we are hopeful that the nation’s economy will rebound, we must prepare for a multi-year impact.”
Dr. Rozzo and the district’s leadership team approached the 2020-21 budget with the theme of “Sustaining Excellence.”
“This budget process has been driven by three primary goals: maintain quality education for our students; remain mindful of the interdependence of all factors that impact a school experience, and to be fiscally responsible to our taxpayers,” Dr. Rozzo said.
In addition to approving the 2020-21 proposed final budget, the school board approved the creation of a Sustaining Excellence Ad Hoc Committee that will focus on the long-term viability of the district.
“Throughout the last few months, I have been beyond impressed with the level of innovation and adaptability from our students, families and staff,” Dr. Rozzo said. “The education of our community’s children has always been a shared responsibility. This reality is stronger now than ever before and is exemplified by the extraordinary collaboration of all of our stakeholders. I am confident in our ability to continue to grow and evolve and, ultimately, to ‘Sustain Excellence’ for our district and, most importantly, our students.”
The school board will vote on the final budget and taxes on Monday, June 29, 2020. The meeting, which is open to the public, begins at 8 a.m.
“Throughout these next few weeks, we will continue to evaluate revenue projections and analyze the potential for savings while closely monitoring variables such as enrollment, class size, state and federal mandates, students’ needs, and other factors that impact student learning,” Dr. Rozzo said. “Upper St. Clair has a strong tradition of excellence in academics, the arts and athletics. We remain committed to upholding this standard and expectation and providing students with opportunities to reach their fullest potential.”
The 2020-21 proposed final budget is available on the district’s website and at the district’s administrative building, 1775 McLaughlin Run Road.