At the May 14th board of education meeting, Superintendent Seth Turner said that a contingency budget is “not something which has been discussed at great length at the board of ed. level.” With a glint in his eye, Turner attributed this to “the power of positive thinking,” and added, “We know that the community is going to support this well-crafted budget, which provides for wonderful academic and social programming for students. Why wouldn’t they? We’ve done such a great job collectively.”
If the budget is defeated, the board has the option of holding a second vote (usually after making some cuts), or going to contingency, where spending in certain areas is capped according to a state formula.
Turner ran off a list of the $698,226 in cuts such a budget would require: five teaching positions would likely be cut, including an English position that is currently unfilled, class sizes would be increased at the entry level and in physical education, a number of teaching assistant positions would be cut, as well as custodial staffing, funding for interscholastic sports programs would be reduced, as well as BOCES services, and spending unrelated to safety and security would be eliminated. Turner suggested that a greater fund balance contribution could make up for some of the gap.
The budget newsletter mailed the week of May 13th suggests that under the proposed budget, the levy will increase by 1.98 percent. However, Turner said it’s actually quite a bit more complicated. “The net impact is a 1.8 percent tax levy increase…. You have to take in the fact that we learned there were other PILOTs which should have been accounted for in a different way; there should have been some gifts that should have been accounted for in a different way. That was too complicated really to send out to the general public…. We’re demonstrating for the public 1.98 percent just because it’s better for me to err on that side.”
The proposed budget is available through the district’s website. Voting will take place May 21st from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.