Pleasant Valley School District’s operating cost for Monroe County Technical Institute is projected to drop for the next school year, even with an upcoming roof repair factored into the budget.

MCTI’s executive director, Dennis Virga, made an appearance at Pleasant Valley board meeting to present the career and technical school’s budget for the 2020-21 school year on Thursday, delivering some good news for the directors.

Pleasant Valley’s piece of the MCTI operating budget pie will decrease by 6.88%, amounting to $2,023,746 out of a total of $8,787,230, just over 23%. The school’s capital budget contribution will also drop by 8.84% to $154,473 out of a total of $670,729.

"Overall, for Pleasant Valley, you’re looking at a little over $2 million, which is a decrease of 7%, or $164,000, again, based off your (average daily membership)," Virga said.

Pleasant Valley will shell out $2,178,219 for MCTI, a decrease of 7.02% that saves the district $164,548 as compared to last year’s budget. The district is the only one of the four sending schools that is projected to see a drop in their total funding contribution.

East Stroudsburg will see a small increase in their portion of the budget at 1.79% over last year’s numbers, Pocono Mountain’s contribution will go up 3.39%, and Stroudsburg will see the largest overall rise at 12.03%, though the total budget increase for all of the schools combined falls just under 2%.

Funding for MCTI is determined by the proportion of students that each district sends to the school, and can change from year to year depending upon that number.

"Please understand that the enrollment from PV is still strong, this year it’s 232 students," Virga said. "When you look at the quota that we look at, that we provide to the districts, you guys are the only district over 100%."

Virga noted that one has to look at the percentage of eligible students who are coming to MCTI to get a good understanding of how well career and technical recruiting is working at a sending school, and as it turns out, Pleasant Valley is doing rather well.

"When you look at the eligible students from Pleasant Valley who can attend MCTI, you guys are over 15%," Virga said. "That’s the highest of the four school districts."

Virga also offered up some information on the status of capital improvement projects at MCTI, including a large-scale roof project set to begin this summer, which are moving along nicely thanks to the sending districts.

"In the last few years, we have accomplished a lot at MCTI in regards to capital improvement," Virga said. "Stuff that has been put off for a few years, we now have the support from all the districts to get these projects done."

Projects completed over the past few years include welding lab renovations, the addition of an egress to the cafeteria, HVAC renovations and more.

"What we are asking for is to complete the roof the following summer," Virga said. "As you know, MCTI does not have a mechanism to fund capital improvement, we don’t have it in our budget, per se. So what we’ve been doing for the last couple years is we’ve been asking to keep the vocational subsidy."

The roof project’s first phase has already been covered by the capital improvement fund and vocational education subsidy from the Pennsylvania Department of Education that MCTI was permitted to hold onto, totaling $1,089,571 between the two sources. Under normal circumstances, vocational subsidy funds are automatically sent back to the school districts.

Virga said that MCTI is requesting to hold the vocational education subsidy funds for another year, in the same amount – $670,729 – in order apply the money to their three-year capital improvement plan. Combined with transferred reserve funds and projected excess revenue, total funding adds up to $1,785,225, more than enough to cover the school’s $1,546,575 cost projection for the second phase of the roof project which is slated to wrap up in summer 2021.

Virga did note that MCTI officials are reviewing bids for the project as of Friday, so that price could change.

"I will tell you, that is – knock on wood – the final large-scale project," Virga said. "Now, we have a ton of other capital projects we would love to get done, but this is the last major project that we are proposing."

Future projects could be funded through moving budgetary reserve monies over to a capital project reserve that MCTI could utilize without having to ask the sending districts.

The board unanimously approved the budget with minimal questioning, capping off the presentation with President Donna Yozwiak commending Virga and his team for their dedication to vocational and technical education.

"I have to compliment you and your staff," Yozwiak said. "You’re doing an exceptional job, and Pleasant Valley students are thriving on your campus."