Coatesville Area School District reveals $275M total debt

Accumulated since ’07, debt includes $188M principle, says business manager

By Kyle CarrozzaStaff Writer, The Times

CASDCALN – Coatesville Area School District Business Manager Ron Kabonick announced that the district currently has a total of $275,931,814 in outstanding total debt at Tuesday night’s Finance and Personnel meeting.

Because of the way the 2007 bond is structured, the district has been paying $5,000 per year in principal and $3.1M per year in in   terest on the $63,555,000 issued.

Kabonick said that some of the bonds were structured this way in order to defer payment to the future. While keeping the district from having to pay large amounts immediately, these bonds have also accumulated a large amount of interest.

“They chose to kick the can down the road. We’re going to have to pay for it,” he said.

He said that he does not understand why payment was deferred in some cases — in 2007, the district had a fund balance of nearly $20M and $12.5M in 2009 that could have paid large portions of the principles, for example.

Kabonick said that in order to get rid of these debts and keep interest from accumulating into larger debts, the district will have to raise taxes and cut expenditures.

“We are talking about major decisions and making major cuts,” he said. “We’re pretty much backed into a corner. There’s going to be some pain in this budget.”

Superintendent Dr. Cathy Taschner agreed.

“As we go through this year, we will have to make some difficult decisions,” she commented. However, she also noted that she does not want those cuts to come in the classroom. “The two most important people in school are students and teachers, so I’m not going to be starting there.”

Taschner said that the district has already moved toward saving money, cutting down on mileage costs and staff scheduling. She said that in the future, saving money could mean the district focuses on academics while relying on community support for extracurriculars.

During the full board meeting Tuesday night, the district approved the distribution of school access cards to West Caln, Valley, Coatesville, and Caln Police Departments. Taschner said that the district decided to take this action after she met with the chiefs from those police departments.

The district is also in the process of changing graduation requirements for students. In addition to having to score ‘proficient’ on PA Core’s Algebra I, biology, and literature exams, the district’s physical education requirement is to be dropped from 2.5 to 2 credits. In addition, the district is getting rid of study halls and changing the courses students are required to take. Taschner said that the changes will allow students more freedom in choosing their classes.

“We hope that they’ll be choosing some of those AP courses and more challenging courses because they’ll have more time in their schedule,” she said.

During her superintendent’s report, Taschner updated the gallery on the efforts to reduce class sizes. By rearranging teachers, the district’s elementary classes range from 18-24 students per class with one exception of 28 caused by Rainbow’s shortage of classrooms.

Taschner also praised the work that has been done to the buildings this year, including capital projects, new desks and chairs in Caln, and the distribution of 20 flat screen TVs that were found in storage.

No matter what building your child is going to school in this year, I am proud to say they look much better. They look brighter, they look cleaner, there’s been a lot of work done,” she said.

   Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

One Comment

  1. former employee says:

    They didn’t just find T.V’s in storage they came from the closing of the greystone charter school last year.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.