Tonight at 7:30PM, the Great Valley School District will decide whether to pass or reject a resolution to approve the preliminary budget and final budget notice. You can find a copy of the resolution HERE.

The Proposed Preliminary Budget of the School District will be for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The Administration and School Board will continue review of budget components, and the Preliminary Budget may be revised prior to adoption of a Final Budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. It is possible they may increase taxes but no more than 2.6%.

Click here and write an e-mail to all the current school board Members

Dear Willistown Township  Resident,

Below is a letter written by three Willistown residents and former Great Valley School Board members.  We were on your school board during the last crisis in 2009 and are concerned that the present board is not taking appropriate action. If you agree with our recommendations please take a few minutes to write the current GVSD board at the address below and ask them to not raise taxes and instead consider salary and spending freezes. On April 20 they will vote on raising taxes, see attached resolution.  A strong message from you can make a difference. Especially if the tone is instructive rather than critical:

Dear Great Valley School Board,

During the last stock market crash and following recession the Great Valley School Board under our direction was able to make major adjustments and avoid laying off teachers and cutting programs. The crisis GVSD is currently facing is more severe than the last recession. The circumstances are certainly more dire. The difference now is that many businesses have closed and people have been laid off with no immediate plan for the future. The first thing the school board should do is adopt a plan and budget that does not include raising taxes that the public and closed businesses cannot afford. Families will be hard pressed to pay their mortgages as jobs have been lost and income and savings in the stock market are gone. Small businesses may not reopen and  big boxes will be running at losses. This is no time to raise the school tax which for many is the biggest household expense.

Based on past experience GVSD will see a severe drop in transfer taxes as the real estate market grinds to a halt. Last year this income was approximately $4M for the district. Over the longer term if properties cannot sell or be leased their values will drop and their owners will reassess. In the last recession the district lost $1 Million a year in revenue from lower property appraisals, each year compounded, until the market recovered 4 years later. This could result in an additional loss of $4 Million in annual revenue. Conservatively the district could be faced with $8 million in lost revenue per year, and this number will be greater if the State cuts are subsidies to public schools. This shortfall cannot be made up by raising taxes, an unreasonable burden on taxpayers who are suffering. 

To overcome these losses and maintain the quality of education the GVSD Board must immediately come up with a plan to reduce spending to match the expected drop in revenue. Here are some key recommendations based on our experience during the last crisis where we were able to make the necessary cuts without furloughing teachers and diminishing the quality of the education and programs:

  1. Put on hold any new borrowing and plans for new buildings 
  2. Defer all physical plant upgrades except those absolutely necessary to run existing facilities.
  3. Ask the teachers union to support a salary freeze for at least one year with an option for two if there is no measurable improvement in the economy and unemployment rate. No moves on the steps and ladders of the pay schedule in the contract for anyone. When you look at the attached comparison of what our teachers are getting paid compared with the Unionville Chadds Ford District you can see that they can easily afford a freeze to help save our district. Great Valley Teachers are getting paid 15-30% more their peers in Unionville Chadds Ford. (see attached comparison)
  4. Cut unnecessary support positions. In the last recession we eliminated 60 jobs without affecting academic performance.

Over the last 8 years GVSD has financed an ever increasing budget growing from $76 Million to over $107 million last year, a $31 Million increase. This was possible because of strong real estate market and high property values.  That’s over now and you have to make the hard decisions and cuts like we did during the last recession. And this time you should not raise taxes to balance the budget. 

Thank you for considering our recommendations,
Ted Leisenring, former GVSD Board Member
Phil Foret, former GVSD Board Member
Mary Ravenfeld, former GVSD Board Member

The following is a comparison of the salaries in 2020-2021 for GVSD and Unionville Chadds Ford per the new teachers’ contracts:

Range for Bachelor Degree:

                UCF:      $50,505 to $80,145

                GV:        $57,165 to $89,448

Range for Master’s Degree:

                UCF:      $54,353 to $86,760

                GV:        $72,453 to $102,804

Range for Master’s Degree + 30:

                UCF:      $59,455 to $94,912

                GV:        $76,646 to $108,250

Range for Master’s Degree + 60:

                UCF:      $66,764 to $106,591

                GV:        $81,130 to $113,697