Salisbury Press

Friday, February 28, 2020


Thursday, September 20, 2018 by MARGE HOPKINS Special to The Press in Local News

Chief financial officer recommends new analytical software

Salisbury Director of Facilities, Safety and Security William Brackett told the Salisbury Township School District Operations Committee, the $6,000 handicap curb cut-out plan at Harry S Truman Elementary School previously approved by the board is going through a redesign due to some issues presented by CodeMaster with the former design by D’Huy Engineering, Inc.

According to Brackett, the new design would spread out the sidewalk pads further to address the angle of street and comes at a cost of $17,000. The plans for the new design will be sent out for bid and Brackett will forward the redesign to the three contractors who bid on the original project.

Salisbury’s Chief Financial Officer Michael Taylor presented the analytical software package Forecast5 to members of the board for consideration at the Sept. 10 meeting. Taylor said he used the software at his former employer, the Boyertown School District.

Forecast5 will eliminate the need to have the financial and administration teams at the district determine and project the finances from using spreadsheets and instead will allow the school to utilize current data and projected data through a “user friendly” software package.

The software, according to Taylor, will also allow the district to use analytics to determine where cuts are needed, revenues need to be increased and will aid in determining projected budgets going out as far as five years.

According to Taylor, using the software will allow “a more level set in increases” based on current expenditures and a five-year forecast for others.

Another benefit in the Forecast5 toolbox, according to Taylor, is 5Sight which gathers Pennsylvania Department of Education information from other districts, presenting comparison data to allow the district to determine whether they are spending efficiently and budgeting appropriately.

The Forecast5/5Sight package for the 2018-2019 school year will cost $18,375 with an additional $2,500 for the third module 5plus.

Director Samuel DeFrank said, “This is something we have needed for a long time and we need all three modules.”

“It is fiscally responsible to examine the data constantly and long-term instead of once a year,” Director Joseph Gnall said.

Taylor said he has worked with the Forecast5 team for years and through working with them he should be able to keep the cost of the software at a reasonable rate for the district.

An added bonus from the analytics of the software, Taylor said, are the tools which calculate property taxes and salaries and benefits.

Concerning property taxes and the school budget, Taylor noted taxes will remain fairly stagnant if assessments remain the same; however, if property assessments increased, taxes would as well.

The construction of the budget for the 2019-2020 school year will begin in October and will follow through until the adoption of the final budget June 19.

According to Taylor, the Act I index is projected to be at 2.3 percent for the upcoming school year, a slight decrease from the 2.4 percent realized in the 2017-2018 school year and will result in less funding for the school.

Members of the board will vote on the Forecast5 software package at the Sept. 19 regular school board meeting.