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Board adopts budget proposal for 2017-18 school year

On Tuesday, May 16, residents of the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District will vote on a proposed $34,697,486 budget for the 2017-18 school year. The B-P Board of Education adopted the budget proposal during a special meeting on Thursday, April 6.

The proposed budget calls for a 2.09 percent year-to-year spending increase and a tax levy increase of 2.15 percent, which is the district’s calculated tax levy “cap.” A simple majority of voters (more than 50 percent) is required for budget approval.

If the proposed budget is approved by voters, Broadalbin-Perth would maintain or expand all current programs and services.

State aid and local revenue

During their April 6 meeting, board members expressed confidence in the budget proposal, despite the fact that revenue projections are not final. Revenue projections will only be finalized after the state legislature adopts a state budget, which affects state aid to schools.

“We’ve budgeted our state aid allocation conservatively based on the governor’s executive budget proposal,” said Assistant Superintendent Marco Zumbolo. “If our final state aid allotment is higher than our projections, that means we won’t have to use as much fund balance as revenue in 2017-18.”

Broadalbin-Perth’s local revenue is slated to receive a boost from new shared services agreements with the Northville and Edinburg school districts. Both districts are paying tuition for some of their students to attend B-P schools. In addition, Broadalbin-Perth is sharing art and physical education teachers with Edinburg and is continuing existing agreements that help Edinburg, a grades K-8 district, with its transportation and facilities maintenance needs. These agreements add up to approximately $175,000 in additional revenue for Broadalbin-Perth in the 2017-18 school year.

Costs increase for special student programs

The most significant spending increase in the proposed budget is tuition for students who participate in specialized educational programs, including:

  • Hamilton Fulton Montgomery (HFM) BOCES’ Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs;
  • Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH);
  • Agriculture PTECH;
  • Adirondack Academy (former alternative high school); and
  • The Clean Technologies & Sustainable Industries Early College High School at the Training and Education Center for Semiconductor Manufacturing and Alternative and Renewable Technologies (TEC-SMART) at Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC).

Broadalbin-Perth plans to send 24 more students to these programs in 2017-18 than it does currently.

“We are absolutely committed to making sure every student has access to the best possible programs to meet their academic needs,” said Superintendent of Schools Stephen Tomlinson. “Sometimes, the best program for a particular student is offered outside the district. The only downside is, all of these programs cost money that the district is responsible for paying.”

Savings and efficiencies

Broadalbin-Perth’s proposed budget calls for the elimination of a BOCES network technician for a savings of $46,000, as well as the elimination of a separate bus run for full-day prekindergarten students for a savings of $130,000. Starting in the fall, full-day pre-K students will be transported to and from school on the existing elementary bus runs.

After projecting a 15 percent increase in health benefits, district officials found significant savings before finalizing the budget proposal. In the district’s approved contract with its teachers’ union, eligible retired teachers moved to the Medicare Advantage health plan, which offers comparable coverage at a lower cost. Savings from this move, combined with an increase in premiums that was smaller than expected, resulted in a net 1 percent increase in employee health insurance costs in the proposed budget.

The district will also save money on employee retirement benefits in 2017-18, because the state-mandated employer contributions to the Employees Retirement System (ERS) and Teachers Retirement System (TRS) will decrease.

Growing programs without increasing spending

Broadalbin-Perth is looking to offer more academic programs for students in 2017-18 — without spending additional money. For example, officials are exploring ways to expand the award-winning eighth-grade STEM program, and at the high school, counselors have partnered with educators at Fulton-Montgomery Community College to develop programs that align with what’s taught at the college level and could lead to an associate’s degree.

“We remain committed to the promises we made to the community in our comprehensive plan, ‘Innovate,’” Tomlinson said. “Our administrative team is rising to the challenge of creating more opportunities for students using existing resources and without increasing costs.”

 

Qualified residents of the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District will vote on the proposed budget Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Polls will be open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the middle and high school gymnasiums. Additional information about voting is available on the district website, www.bpcsd.org. Detailed information about the budget proposal and other ballot propositions will be posted on the district website in the coming weeks. An informational brochure will be mailed to all households at the end of April.