IU5 releases proposed budget to school districts

The Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit (IU5) has released its proposed 2013-2014 budget for approval by member districts.

While IU5 funding is handled through a number of budgets totaling approximately $56.37 million, member districts only vote on the approximately $1.79 million general operating budget to which they directly contribute.

The districts are budgeted to contribute $988,929 to the total general operating budget for 2013-2014. Individual district contributions are determined on a weighted system.

IU5 has 17 member districts in Erie, Crawford and Warren counties that must approve the budget each May.

“We need to pass this, basically, by our next meeting,” Donna Zariczny, the Warren County School District board of directors’ representative to the IU5 board said at the board’s last meeting.

In the wake of revelations IU5 was inappropriately withholding $9 million accrued in deferred accounts over the course of multiple fiscal years, the unit provided a more complete picture of operations for district review.

Information provided for 2013-2014 shows the entire proposed IU5 budgets totaling more than $56 million, event though district only vote on the general operating budget. Previous budgets submitted for approval only showed the budget information the districts would vote on, information covering less than five percent of total unit finances.

The WCSD board agreed to wait until after its finance committee reviewed the budget at its scheduled April 29 meeting to act. The board will tentatively vote on IU5 budget approval at its May 6 meeting.

Zariczny also announced IU5 has selected a new executive director, who will begin in July.

“He’s finishing up his tenure at his current position,” Zariczny said.

IU5 has been operating with an interim executive director for more than a year.

The districts will also be required to vote on IU5 directors soon, according to Zariczny.

“We need to start thinking about approval of the IU board,” she pointed out.