Superintendent Susan Swartz came up with more than $500,000 in reductions that do not affect programs as she strives to fill a $1.3 million budget gap.
However, she told the Board of Education last night that she will return next Monday, March 26, with another $800,000 in reductions that will impact programs “and will be ugly.”
And none of these figures include a mental health program, School Resource Officer or other items requested by the board and staff as detailed at the March 12 meeting.
The annual community budget vote will be held from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15 at the B-wing high school gymnasium. The community will also decide on a bus purchase proposal, capital project and elect two members to the Board of Education.
Swartz presented these non-program budget reductions to address the $1.3 million budget gap. These are a combination of net cost reductions ($321,042) and $200,000 in additional funding from the district’s fund balance. Here are the reductions she presented:
- Retirees (difference between their current salaries and their replacement’s salary): $227,000
- Affordable Care Act (ACA) Tax: $57,000
- BOCES Administrative: $10,000
- Bus Garage: $37,896
- Literacy Camp: $1,810
- BOCES FSR (Programs for Students with Special Needs): $10,000
- Dental Insurance: $36,000
- Fund Balance: $200,00
+Increase in vocational education cost (due to more students interested in career training courses through BOCES): $58,664
Total reductions: $521,042
She also reviewed efforts by the governor, Assembly and Senate to instill more money into Foundation Aid for school districts in the 2018-19 as well as proposals to boost school safety, offer mandate relief to schools and trim summer special education costs.
The Board of Education typically adopts a school budget by the end of March each year, noted Swartz. However, since state funding is up in the air and she is hopeful for additional state funds, she recommended that the board wait until April 9 to adopt a 2018-19 budget.
“That is a big part of my thinking right now,” said Swartz. “I think we should wait to see what the state offers before we go through and make rather ugly cuts to the program that we may not have to do. If I come back with cuts and you adopt those, then that is your spending cap. Even if we get more money from the state, we can’t exceed that cap.”
Board member Gary Normington agreed, saying “I don’t want to cut any programs that we don’t have to cut.”
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.