Preliminary budget up 4.9 percent School board will make cuts before final approval

By on January 11, 2012

By: STEPHEN SEEBER Record Express Staff, Staff Writer

Warwick School Board unveiled its preliminary budget last week, and the early picture shows a 4.9 percent increase over 2011-12.

However, that number is expected to drop between now and the anticipated final draft adoption in June.

"This budget includes a lot of what-ifs," said district public relations director Lori Zimmerman, "and we’ll be going back in to trim when a lot of these things become more concrete."

By "things" she primarily means Governor Tom Corbett’s budget, which should be complete in March. State mandates will play a huge role in how the district develops its spending plan. Special education funding and retirements are other factors that will weigh into the final budget for Warwick.

"We’re attempting to cut expenditures in all areas across the budget, as reasonably as we can," she added. "This is a process. This will not be the final budget."

The top reasons for the anticipated increase, according to Zimmerman, are wages and retirements.

Last June, the school board passed a $59,981,045 budget with a 1.36 percent tax increase. Fixed charges such as retirement, social security, insurance and unemployment compensation accounted for $10.7 million of that budget.

The board will vote on its preliminary budget for 2012-13 during its Jan. 17 meeting. A tentative budget will be voted on in May, and a final draft should be approved during the board’s June meeting. In the meantime, there will be several public meetings planned, most likely in April and May, after the governor’s budget can be taken into account. In addition, the budget will be discussed at every committee of the whole, finance and legal, and regular board meeting between now and the final vote.

The preliminary budget is currently available for review at the district office and on the district website (under district info, click on business office).

"The important thing to remember is that this is very preliminary," Zimmerman added. More BUDGET, page A14

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