B-P to host budget development forum April 21

The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District will host a budget development forum at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 21 in the junior/senior high school cafeteria (formerly the TLC cafeteria). Members of the community can RSVP for the forum by emailing Michele Kelley, director of internal and external relations, at kelleym@bpcsd.org. Residents will also have an opportunity to learn about and comment on the budget development process during the April 19 Board of Education meeting, which will start at 6 p.m. and be held virtually.

Board members are currently considering budget options that call for a tax levy increase between 1% and 1.9%. According to Superintendent of Schools Stephen Tomlinson, the entire tax levy increase will go toward the local share of the district’s 2016 capital project.

“We won’t be asking for any additional tax dollars to fund our regular programs during the 2021-22 school year,” Tomlinson said. “School districts have been fortunate to receive additional federal dollars for the coming school year to help pay for COVID-related expenses, including academic programs that address learning loss. However, we can’t use that federal money to help pay for the capital project.”

However, Tomlinson said there is good news regarding the local share of the 2016 capital project, which covers approximately 20% of the project’s $39.7 million cost. The 2021-22 school year is the last that the tax levy will increase because of the project, and the local share has turned out to be less than expected when voters approved the plan.

“In 2016, we projected that a taxpayer with Basic STAR and a home with a full-market value of $100,000 would see their taxes increase $55 as a result of this project,” Tomlinson said. “But after our business office made some smart financing decisions, the final number will be less than $50 for the same taxpayer.”

The district’s overall spending plan is expected to increase by more than $2.8 million. Two-thirds of that increase comes as a direct result of the district bonding the last $28.7 million of the 2016 capital project and starting the 15-year payback period. The 2020-21 budget was down $2.2 million from 2019-20 after Broadalbin-Perth paid off its 2003 capital project and before the district bonded the full amount of the 2016 capital project.

“We phased the financing of the 2016 capital project, which ultimately saved our taxpayers some money,” said Marco Zumbolo, assistant superintendent for business and operations. “We’ve already started paying down the first bond, which was for $11 million, and starting this year, we’ll begin paying back the rest of the project.”

The B-P Board of Education is expected to adopt a budget proposal for the 2021-22 school year after the April 21 forum. Qualified residents will vote on the budget proposal during the annual school budget vote and board elections on Tuesday, May 18. Polls will be open for in-person voting 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Robert C. Munn Gymnasium at Broadalbin-Perth Jr./Sr. High School, 100 Bridge Street, Broadalbin. Note, this is now the ONLY polling location in the district; voting will not take place at B-P Elementary School. Residents may request an application for an absentee ballot by calling District Clerk Georgia Baldwin at 518-954-2501.