Posted January 27, 2012
talks get underway
BH-BL residents invited to series
of budget meetings, starting with Feb. 1 Finance
BURNT HILLS: Burnt Hills-Ballston
Lake Board of Education members have already laid
the foundation for next year's school budget by
deciding on their
2012-13 budget objectives and a list of factors
impacting the new budget and creating a
all necessary dates and deadlines.
Now the real work begins, with a
series of public meetings to examine the numbers.
Committee meetings will be held at 7:00
pm in the O'Rourke Middle School library on
Wednesday, February 1, Wednesday, February 15 and Tuesday, March 6.
Finance Committee meetings are working sessions for
school board members conducted in public.
A series of three
Public Budget Forums
is also coming up on February 9, March 1
and March 21. The budget forums are
specifically designed to collect input from
residents and staff on key budget questions. All
three forums will take place in the O'Rourke Middle
School cafetorium starting at 7:30 pm.
Anyone who cannot attend the forums
in person is also invited to participate online via
a computer with high-speed internet access. This
will be the third year that BH-BL has broadcast its
budget forums over the internet in real time using
software that allows anyone to see and hear the
presentation and to participate in the discussion via a
computer. (Go to
online forum information for details on how this
Preliminary budget up 4.1
The Finance Committee meeting on
February 1 will be board members' first opportunity
to examine expense and revenue projections for
Superintendent Jim Schultz expects
to spend an hour presenting an overview of
preliminary numbers, including a discussion of what
New York's new tax levy cap will mean for the BH-BL
budget and what Governor Cuomo's Jan. 17 proposed
state budget could mean for BH-BL.
The Board of Education
is starting its annual budget deliberations
with a preliminary request budget of $57,018,454.
This figure is the first estimate of funds needed
to carry all existing programs forward one year. It
includes freezes on many expenses and no new
staffing or new programs.
figure represents a $2.2 million or 4.1 percent
budget-to-budget increase over the district's
current budget and would result in a tax levy
increase of 6.0 percent if Governor Cuomo's
school aid proposals were to be enacted by the state
"We use the preliminary request
budget as a starting point, but I hope everyone
remembers that numerous changes will take place on
both sides of the budget -- expenses and revenue --
before we have a final number for the public to vote on
on May 15," says Schultz. "We have a long way to go
and need the public to participate at the forums to
help us find the best balance here."
Areas of increase
Areas in the preliminary budget
that are projected to increase are:
benefits: up $1,168,877 or 9.7 percent,
mostly for higher health insurance premiums and
state-required pension payments.
service: up $544,345 or 13.8 percent due
to the phasing in of debt payments for energy
conservation renovations authorized by BH-BL voters
in December 2009. This number will be offset by
increased revenue (state building aid) that
reimburses BH-BL for roughly 74 percent of this type
salaries: up $321,008 or 1.1 percent, for
services: up $134,537 or 4.8 percent, including
costs for BOCES special education pupils.
Maintenance: up $69,545 or 2.7 percent,
for electricity and equipment.
These five areas constitute 99
percent of the increase in the preliminary budget of
$57 million. All other areas of the budget are
increasing by a combined total of only $10,200.
Also on the agenda for the Feb. 1
Finance Committee meeting is a discussion of six
requests from school
administrators for additional services and equipment. These proposals are not included in
the preliminary budget. They range from $4,400 to
start offering the required course in high school
health during summer school, to $99,000 to increase
the time of the Response to Intervention reading teacher in each
elementary school from part time to full time.
increase in state aid projected
Unlike the past couple years, BH-BL
administrators are very happy that Governor Cuomo
did not propose anything that would reduce aid to
the district. On the
other hand, not being a high needs district, BH-BL
is not eligible for any significant increase in
The good news for Burnt Hills is
that since the state is facing a smaller deficit now
than a year ago, the amount of aid being deducted
from the BH-BL overall aid package with the "Gap
Elimination Adjustment" is smaller.
Not counting building aid,
BH-BL would see an increase of 2.4 percent or
$331,651 in state aid under the Governor's proposals.
Copy of agenda & handouts for Feb. 1 meeting