The Department of Financial Affairs for the Cheltenham School District is responsible for the administration, management and compliance of District financial services. These responsibilities include the preparation, presentation, monitoring and reporting of the annual District budget; preparation of annual financial statements; payroll administration; benefit administration; accounts receivable and payable; purchasing and receiving; management of debt service and investments and monitoring of capital assets; and financial oversight of federal and state programs. The Department also provides oversight of the Food Services and Transportation Department.
With co-chair Joel Fishbein presiding, the Financial Affairs Committee convened in a Zoom seminar room on Tuesday, Oct. 6. The agenda featured bond refinancing opportunities, 2021-22 budget overview, and 2020-21 budget update.
Mr. Brad Remig, PFM Advisors, LLC presented on bond refinancing opportunities. He provided a brief overview of the purpose of bond refinancing, and identified the 2020-21 refinancing plan for four bonds which will net anticipated savings of approximately $1.3 million. CSD Business Manager Ms. Cara Michaels recommended the board approve the bond parameters resolution at the Tuesday, Oct. 13 legislative board meeting.
Ms. Michaels presented on the 2021-22 budget process, providing a detailed calendar with key Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and CSD deadlines. She also highlighted key terms “Act 1 Index” and “Aid Ratios,” which are essential to this process. She reported the Act 1 Index was published at 3 percent for fiscal year 2021-22 and CSD’s 2020-21 Market Value/Personal Income (MPVI) aid ratio was .3989, which was slightly lower than the previous year and falls below the threshold for an adjusted Act 1 Index. Ms. Michaels identified key budgetary areas for revenues and expenditures that are known and unknown for the start of the budget process, and anticipates the 2021-22 preliminary budget will be presented at the January 2021 Financial Affairs Committee meeting.
To close the meeting, Ms. Michaels presented an update on the 2020-21 budget, which illustrated CSD has collected or realized 59.58 percent of its revenues and has expended 16.05 percent of its expenditures. Again, she reported that it is too early in the fiscal year to begin projections for revenue and expenditures; however, by December 2020, she will have enough information to begin formulating solid data to provide projections. Ms. Michaels ended the presentation with benchmarking data for 2019-20 and 2020-21 revenue collections. As of September 30, 2020, CSD has collected approximately $6.7 million less in local revenues than in the previous year. The main revenue source impacted is real estate tax revenue; however, CSD eliminated the penalty period and extended the discount and face periods. As this contributes to the decrease in collection. Ms. Michaels reported that the true benchmark data will be known December 31, 2020.
The next Financial Affairs Committee meeting is Monday, Nov. 1, immediately following the Facilities Committee meeting.