Superintendent outlines buildings and grounds, transportation budgets

Development of the 2018-19 school budget continued this evening, with reviews of the budgets for the buildings and grounds and transportation departments.

Here is Superintendent Susan Swartz’s presentation.

The buildings and grounds budget shows a spending increase of 1.74%
($58,000). There will be no additions to staffing levels. The increase takes into account  cost of living and step increases for employees.

There are also increases in contractual expenses for potential water lead testing and/or unanticipated health and safety testing.

The transportation budget shows a spending increase of 3.17% ($69,000). The budget proposal includes an increase in bus garage contractual cost and includes salary and wage increases for drivers. The budget also anticipates continued escalation in fuel costs.

The department is also proposing a $305,000 bus purchase proposal to buy five (5) 28 passenger buses: one (1) wheelchair bus; two (2) buses with child restraints; two (2) regular 28 passenger buses. The trade-in value for this proposition is $6,500. BOE members endorsed the bus purchase proposal to be on the May 15 ballot.

The community vote on the budget is scheduled for 7 a.m. (note the new starting time) to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15 in the B-wing gymnasium at the high school, Sacandaga Road.

Future budget meetings will be held on Mondays, March 12, 19 and 26 at 7 p.m. at the Middle School.

Other issues discussed by the Board of Education

Board members on Monday also brought up other issues that they would like to see included in the budget, including an additional grade section at Sacandaga, School Resource Officers and the addition of a mental health program as outlined two meeting ago.

They also indicated that, in order to fund some of these initiatives, perhaps the district should seek to exceed it’s state-set tax levy cap of 3.46 percent. If the board opts to do that, it would require a 60 percent approval by the community on May 15.

It is widely believed that there will be little if any additional state aid from the state when that budget is adopted April 1.  The governor’s proposal increased Scotia-Glenville’s Foundation Aid, the main source of aid for school districts, by 2.6 percent or $343,100 in the 2018-19 school year.

The $56.6 million “roll over” budget that Swartz presented to the Board of Education on Feb. 12 includes all programs and services now provided to students. Spending would increase by 5.99 percent or $3.2 million in 2018-19 over the current school year budget of $53.4 million.

The resulting gap between projected costs and revenue is $1.3 million in 2018-19. She noted that some adjustments would be made. For example, the cost savings from 12 retirements have not been factored into these figures yet.

She noted a few areas from the budget:

  • Health insurance rates are expected to increase by 8-9 percent
  • Teacher and employee retirement costs are expected to remain stable with little change
  • Debt service, to pay for the 2015 capital project and energy performance contract, will increase by $1.034 million but that will be offset by a $604,444 increase in state building aid to cover some of that cost
  • Overall state aid – 37.3 percent of S-G’s revenue – will increase by 5.13 percent or $1.03 million. However, a large share of that – $604,444 – is reimbursement for money already spent on the capital project, transportation or with BOCES programs.