Board of Education begins budget deliberations

The Board of Education on Monday began discussing specifics in the budget, mostly things that they are not willing to live without.

The biggest item was mental health in anticipation of students, many of them virtual, returning to school in the fall.

“I think mental health has to be number one on our list,” said board member David Massaro, noting that he, his wife and children have been virtual in their home since March 2020. “Being virtual is not the best for our children and it will be a tough transition back to school.”

Every other board member echoed the same sentiments. Board member Pam Carbone took it a bit further, adding guidance counselors to the mix of items that should not be cut in a 2021-22 budget.

Board member Kim Talbot also mentioned arts in education and the district’s Fine Arts programs. “We have art and music teachers moving around every day,” she said. “This is part of mental health – we need to include this just for our students’ mental health.

Superintendent Susan Swartz will return on Monday, March 8 with specific potential reductions. The only potential reduction she heard Monday was from Kim Talbot, who wondered if we could do without the grade 5 field trip money of $9,000.

Board member Hal Talbot pointed out that we spend $209,000 on text books in this increasingly technological world.

Board President David Bucciferro also added that he also wants extracurricular activities left alone.

Bucciferro asked Business Administrator Andrew Giaquinto to work up a potential tax increase with $200,000 in reductions.

At the board’s February 22 meeting, board members said they would consider seeking a budget that overrides the state cap. The state tax levy cap for Scotia-Glenville is 0.13%, an increase of $40,000.

When Swartz presented the carry forward budget, the figures showed  spending increasing by 2.01% or $1.1 million in the 2021-22 school year. The 2021-22 carry forward budget totals $59.3 million, an increase from the current school year budget of $58.1 million.

The community decides on May 18

On May 18 (unless the date is changed as happened last year), the S-G community will consider these proposals:

  • 2021-22 school budget
  • $493,000 bus purchase proposal for four new buses
  • $12.8 million capital project for roofs, furnaces and public address systems at all six schools
  • Selecting two Board of Education members. The terms of current Board of Education members David Massaro and Hal Talbot expire this year.