Monday, February 27, 2006


Dover Settlement May Force District to Borrow, Raise Taxes

The newly elected Dover school board -- they're the ones who inherited the mess, and a $1 million legal settlement, left behind by the the previous board which was dominated by religious conservatives -- don't want to borrow money or raise taxes to pay legal fees incurred by plaintiffs attorneys during the intelligent design trial.

They may find, however, that there isn't enough money in the districts fund balance to pay the bill.

"David Davare, director of research services at the Pennsylvania School Board Association, said when fund balances become too low, the district runs the risk of financial distress in the short term," according to the York Daily Record.

Davare said the association doesn't have a minimum guideline for fund balances, but said financial institutions like to see districts have about 5 percent to 8 percent in the fund balance.

"From a financial standpoint, they are starting to end up on the low side," Davare said about Dover's balance.

The fund balance can pay for emergency costs not covered by insurance, such as a leak in a roof, he said. Davare was concerned about districts building a budget that relies on using money from the fund balance.

"Get out of it - at some point they have to make the tough decisions," Davare said. "They either have to reduce their expenditures or they have to raise taxes. In some cases, it's a combination of both."


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