Questions & Answers: Proposed 2020-21 school budget

Proposed school budget preserves teachers and social workers; no revote date this year if budget is defeated

Q. What is funded in the proposed 2020-21 budget?

A. The overwhelming majority of the investments in the academic program and student support that have been made in recent years are funded. Some highlights include:

  • No reductions in elementary class sections and two additional elementary class sections to manage class size.
  • No reductions in social workers; a dedicated full-time school social worker at all schools K-8 and two at the high school.
  • All current world language, computer science and technology offerings.
  • The continuation of dedicated full-time middle school assistant principals at each school.
  • Expanding the 1:1 Chromebook program by providing devices to all students in grades 3-12.
  • Professional development in areas such as interdisciplinary learning, project-based learning, instructional technology and culturally responsive teaching.

Posted: May 21, 2020

Q. What is not funded in the proposed budget?

A. Budget decision-making resulted in the reduction of the full-time equivalent of approximately 16 positions, as well as about $1.5 million in non-personnel expenses from the preliminary budget. Reductions included:

  • The district-level administrative positions of director of human resources and director of pupil personnel services.
  • Approximately four clerical positions and three positions in facilities and transportation.
  • The elimination of the teacher leader positions, which does not impact student course offerings.
  • Reductions in supplies and materials in all areas.
  • Reduced conference and travel costs for the Superintendent and Board of Education, including the annual New York State School Boards Association conference.
  • Superintendent wage freeze.
  • Reductions in BOCES services, including Communications and Health and Safety.

Posted: May 21, 2020

Q. What happens if the budget is not approved by voters?

A. Under state law, school boards can submit a budget to voters twice before it must adopt a contingency budget. Regulations require that any revote be held the third Tuesday in June. The postponement of the May vote to June 9 means there is not sufficient time to hold a revote, which means that the district would have to adopt a contingent budget if the proposed budget is defeated. Under a contingent budget, there can be no increase ($0) in the tax levy from the prior year. In this situation, the district would need to cut spending to offset the entire $1,257,391 in tax levy revenue that the budget contains. This is the equivalent of approximately 17 positions, and would affect all academic levels and student services. Many of the instructional reductions discussed during the budget process would be unavoidable.

Posted: May 21, 2020

Q. Does the capital project being planned affect this budget?

A. No. The timing of the capital project is based on keeping debt service levels stable in the future. The facilities improvements that voters will decide on this coming December have no bearing on this budget proposal. If the referendum is successful in December, it would not have an impact on the operating budget until at least 2023-24. Additionally, it is important to note that the capital project involves more than just the school configuration. It will also address many basic infrastructure needs, including leaking roofs, traffic flow at school sites, heating, cooling, electrical systems and more.

Posted: May 21, 2020