|There are many questions out in the community about the 2010-2011 school year budget. Please share the following updated information with interested community members:
Q: What are the major revenue streams for schools?
A: State Aid, Tax Levy and County Sales Tax
Q: What is the district anticipating being reduced from the county, state and other revenue sources this year?
A: At this time the County Legislators have not made any decisions regarding the sharing of sales tax with school districts, towns, villages and the city. The Sales Tax Committee is meeting every Monday during March and having discussions with each of the above entities. On Monday, March 29, at 9:00 AM, school districts will be presenting information to the committee. These meetings are open to the public and if you are available, you may be interested in attending that meeting.
The Governor proposes reducing our State Aid by approximately $4.6m.
We are projecting approximately $230,000 less in interest income because of the lower interest rates for the 2010-2011 year.
Q: Is the Board of Education reducing the budget expenses a minimum of what the above income reductions are going to be? What is the dollar to dollar increase from this years budget to next years projected budget going to be?
A: No final decisions have been made by the Board of Education regarding this question. As the administrative team develops this budget, I have shared with our staff that we are working hard to develop a budget that reflects a 0% increase in spending year over year. This is an extremely challenging task because of rising costs in doing day to day business. (i.e.: utilities, insurances, etc.)
Q: What are some of the main cost drivers in a school budget?
A: Health insurance costs are increasing by +15% from the prior year. The Employee Retirement System (ERS) costs are increasing between 11-14% and Teacher Retirement System costs are increasing by approximately 9.5%. Contractual costs impact increased expenditures in school budgets.
Q: What is the Board's expected budget target increase, percent & dollars?
A: The budget target increase at this time is 0% and $0.00. This will result in many reductions. I have shared with the staff that we are looking at a minimum of 100 positions across all areas. Hopefully we will be able to lessen the impact through attrition. For this current school year, we reduced our staffing by 46 positions.
Q: What programs are you looking to reduce?
A: We are looking at reductions across the board in all areas of the budget. As the administrative team presents the proposed budget information to the Board of Education we strive to meet the needs of all students and provide them with a quality education that will make them competitive as they leave Baldwinsville to pursue other higher and post graduate educational opportunities, work opportunities, trade opportunities, enter into the job market, etc.
I truly appreciate the questions that I have been receiving. It is an extremely difficult budget development year. I anticipate we will have the same and possibly greater challenges over the next 3 to 5 years. The economic crisis that we face as a State and a Nation will not be resolved anytime soon. As we develop our current budget, please know that we are always planning more long term and looking out over the next three years. We are fortunate to have very dedicated Board of Education members that are extremely thoughtful in their decision making. They value and recognize the importance of quality education for our students but also balancing that with being fiscally responsive to our taxpayers. We must keep our community an attractive and affordable place to live and continue to provide quality opportunities for our children. They will be the next leaders, community members and parents of Baldwinsville.