SG looking to other districts to share staff and reduce the budget

Superintendent Susan Swartz told the Board of Education on Monday that Scotia-Glenville, as a way of dealing with declining secondary enrollment, is looking into sharing classes with other school districts over the Distance Learning Network.

“We have talked to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake but we are talking to other school districts as well,” Swartz said, noting that BHBL is part of the Capital Region BOCES’ Distance Learning Network. “We are looking at where we can leverage teachers at both school districts. We want to find a way to continue offering everything we can for students.”

She is looking specifically at German, technology and business courses, she said, noting that they tend to have lower enrollments. “We also have courses that their students may want to take,” she added.

Here is her presentation to the Board of Education.

Distance Learning involves students at several school districts taking classes from one teacher over the internet with television monitors and audio capabilities in both classrooms. For example, a teacher at BHBL may teach a class that students in other schools want to take, so they tune in through Distance Learning. As well, an S-G teacher may offer a class that will be broadcast out to three or four other school districts.

“We need to right-size what we offer based on our enrollment,” she said, noting that Middle School enrollment has dropped by 13% since 2011 and high school enrollment has dropped by 14% since 2011.

She also said that with the ongoing teacher shortage, sharing staff with other school districts may be a good way to continue offering the classes that SG has always offered.

Community vote is Tuesday, May 17

The community votes on the 2022-23 budget, a $385,000 bus purchase proposal and Board of Education candidates from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17 in the B-wing gym at the high school.

Scotia-Glenville’s maximum allowable state tax levy increase
for 2022 – 2023 is 1.62%, or a $502,287 tax levy increase. The first draft budget spending increase of 3.78% reflects a shortfall of $1.09 million, the amount that would need to be reduced to reach the allowable tax levy limit. The board has also indicated to the state comptroller’s office that it planned to exceed the tax levy increase, which would require a 60% approval rate at the polls. That decision to the comptroller’s office can be reversed.

Board members had asked about German specifically. S-G has one German teacher who teaches 49 students in grades 7-12. The district would want to ensure that all students who wanted to take German until they take Checkpoint B in grade 11 have that opportunity. Swartz said that, if German were ended, that those students would then want to take French or Spanish, which could lead to hiring staff.

At the March 7 meeting, Swartz said she hoped to capture four elementary positions to keep vacant in the budget – two retirements and two resignations. Staff would be shifted to fill the vacancies.

She also reiterated to the board the need to plan once the federal Cares Act funding expires in June 2023. She would like to keep as many of the newly added positions as possible once the 2023-24 budget begins. To do that, however, she said the board needs to set aside money in the upcoming budgets to ease that transition. She specifically mentioned the School Resource Officer and Athletic Trainer. Her first draft budget includes $50,000 toward the SRO and $15,000 toward the Athletic Trainer.