Tough decisions facing Green Island School District as it prepares the 2010-11 school budget
The Green Island school administration has implemented a spending freeze and other cutbacks for the rest of the school year as it develops a budget that will close a projected $1 million gap in 2010-11.
There are also plans to reduce student clubs, athletics and BOCES programs next school year to save money.
Green Island School Superintendent John McKinney spoke to staff during a faculty meeting on Thursday, March 11 about the challenges the Board of Education faces as board members develop the 2010-11 school budget.
A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, May 6 at 7 p.m. in the Heatly library to further discuss the 2010-11 budget. The community will consider the 2010-11 budget and one open Board of Education seat during voting on May 18.
While too early to project a tax increase for 2010-11, the Board of Education has kept the tax rate the same for the past three years. McKinney said the board hopes to keep any tax increase as low as possible.
The district is currently facing a budget gap of more than $1 million, in part because of recent information showing health insurance and other costs will jump more than previously expected.
The largest projected increases in the budget are: health insurance, 12%; state-mandated retirement costs, 4%; Social Security and Medicare, 2%; Workers’ Compensation and unemployment costs, 23%; special education, 6%; and employee salaries, 3%. These increases total $370,452.
At the same time, the district is facing reductions in state and federal aid ($580,718) and an additional cut from Gov. David Paterson’s proposed statewide Gap Elimination Adjustment against all school districts (for Green Island, that is a drop of $318,277).
“We are trying to minimize any staff reductions and any impacts on the program,” said McKinney.
The Board of Education and administration have implemented a spending freeze for the rest of the school year. As well, teachers will not attend conferences and new purchase requisitions will be closely scrutinized. These are an effort to boost the year-end budget fund balance (or emergency surplus) that can be carried over into the 2010-11 budget.
In addition, McKinney said the 2010-11 budget will:
• Eliminate funding for new students to attend
Tech Valley High School, New Visions
and Career and Technical Education, all through the Capital Region BOCES.
Students attending these programs right now will remain.
• Share special education costs with neighboring school districts, where possible.
• Reduce the number of after-school clubs.
• Offer only two levels of interscholastic sports competition – modified and varsity.
Athletic teams will also share buses, where possible, to reduce transportation
• Include no new or expanded programs.