WINTER IS HERE

Get Ready for Snow and Ice
Winter storm watches and advisories have been issued across the Northeast in anticipation of the potential storm heading our way. The snowfall, freezing rain and increasing winds in the forecast could lead to power outages and coastal flooding. Check your local weather for details in your area. Here are a few things you can do to prepare.
For Your Home
•   To prevent frozen pipes, set your thermostat to a warm temperature. If you’re leaving town, set it to no lower than 65 degrees.     •   Have working flashlights, nonperishable food items and water in case you lose power or the storm keeps you house-bound for more than a day.     •   Stay indoors during the storm and follow these tips to avoid snow shoveling-related injuries.
On the Road
•   Snow can accumulate quickly, creating slick conditions. If possible, avoid driving during the storm.     •   If you must drive, be sure to stock your vehicle’s winter roadside emergency kit with all the essentials including snacks, blankets, a windshield de-icer, a spare phone charger and flare lights. Check your oil and antifreeze levels.     •   If there’s even the slightest threat of snow in the forecast, keep your motorcycle off the road, properly stored and winterized.
After the Storm
•   Once it’s safe to drive, follow these tips to properly get your vehicle out of the snow. When cleaning the snow and ice off your vehicle, remember to also clear the roof.     •   Before venturing out, brush up on these safe winter weather driving techniques.     •   After a heavy snow fall you might notice large piles of snow on the roof of your home or business. Safely remove snow from your roof to prevent ice dams.
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Stay safe and warm this week!

Exciting Council Rock School District answer to our #1 burning question!

NO!

Can residents expect a school tax refund since the schools are not opening until September 29 and not operating at full capacity?

No. 

The Department of Education requires that school districts educate its students for a minimum of 180 days in a school year, and there is no exception to the mandate at this time.  Although the model will look significantly different than the traditional schooling, the financial picture of the District does not materially change. 

Professional staff will still be teaching five days per week in the virtual environment, and will receive their contractual salary and benefits.  The same is true for the majority of our support staff members who provide critical services supporting the classroom; support that, we will argue, is imperative during virtual instruction. 

Salaries and benefits account for 76 percent, or almost $188 million, of the total District expenditures.  It is true that there will be some operational savings because of the virtual start, but these savings are more than likely going to be offset by the costs associated with personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional equipment to facilitate this year’s virtual instruction. 

At last estimate, those costs will be approximately $3.6 million.  For context, the District budgeted to spend $1.7 million for utilities for all buildings for the entire year.  So, even if the buildings were completely shut down for the entire year (which is not practical), the District will still need to come up with an additional $1.9 million to cover the additional PPE.  State and federal funding for reopening costs has also been insufficient to date, totaling only $1.1 million.  Furthermore, the above cost estimate does not include additional expenses incurred by the District if families elect to enroll their students in charter schools. 

The District must pay either $14,886 per regular education student or $43,037 per special education student to attend the charter school, and the costs of this mandate could become very significant if families choose this option.  (And because there is no state reimbursement for this mandate, the costs are borne by the local community). 

More information on the District’s financial outlook and how the coronavirus has impacted the District’s finances can be found by viewing the April 16 and May 7 Finance Committee meetings, and the June 3 Budget Forum.