by Tara Hurley
At the Board of Education meeting on May 3, 2011 at Shenendehowa the final budget proposal for the 2011-12 school years was discussed.
During this meeting they talked about some of their guiding principles to their final decision.
One of those being value added and it was described as a balancing act. A second is cost effectiveness, and a third being tax impact sensitivity towards the tax payers.
They also described the four fundamental basics towards their decision making.
One factor is sustainability, maintaining academic achievement despite significant decrease in state aid by maximizing and leveraging the full impact of state aid restoration and federal Education Jobs Funds. The 2011-12 Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEP) reduction in aid is $6.9 million.
They estimated the state aid to be $36,680,712.
Some cost drivers are retirements and health, dental and prescription insurance.
Shen has money put aside as reserve funds. These funds help to stabilize tax levy impact. They help to pay for tax claims and workers compensation claims and they help cover unanticipated or emergency costs.
This fund balance is at 4 percent and is a major concern.
A second factor is containing costs, doing things more effectively and efficiently. Some things the district did to enforce this is agree to a salary freeze. The district will continue to assertively pursue further reductions in costs through negotiation and collective bargaining’s contracts expire.
Another thing is that district has taken steps to reduce health care costs under its control by reconstructing provisions of health, drug and dental benefits.
The district engaged in aggressive energy management by applying and receiving a grant to buy solar panels for the schools. This will reduce energy costs.
A third fundamental basic is innovation practices. The district will be doing this by making changes in the core curriculum and change the program of studies to relate to the twenty-first century.
The fourth fundamental basic is sensitivity toward the tax payers. The budget being funded by state aid and state aid is decreasing therefore the district has three options.
Those three options are to cut expenditures, use the fund balance or raise property taxes. They estimated it to be for a $250,000 house the tax will be raised $145.
The budget vote is May 17th. The things the community will be voting on are a resolution to acquire nineteen buses of various sizes which will not exceed $17.9 million. Also, a resolution to fill two seats on the Board of Education.
The 2011-12 budget is $150,307,073 which is $72,925 below the contingent budget limit.