On Tuesday, March 5, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Board of
Education members will hold the first of three evening community
forums on developing the new school budget.
Starting at 7:30 pm in the high school library on Lakehill Road, the first forum will focus on projected expenditure and revenue numbers and the issues the district is facing this year.
You can read also previous budget press releases and follow creation of the next BH-BL school budget on the 2013-14 Budget Development webpage.
In January, administrators started with a conservative,
preliminary expenditure total of $60.3 million. Updated cost
figures since January -- particularly more accurate projections
for health insurance and natural gas and electricity -- have
brought the working budget number down to $59.0 million.
If that number is ultimately adopted by the Board of Education in April, it would represent a 3.7% budget to budget increase from the current year's budget of $56.9 million.
"Almost the entire $2.1 million increase in the working budget is caused by increases in health insurance and required pension payments," says superintendent Patrick McGrath. "Burnt Hills will realize a $500,000 savings from lower rates for power and natural gas next year. This is excellent news because those savings will cover all other increases in the working budget including salaries of existing staff, other benefits, and supplies."
The working budget figure includes no increases in school programs or staffing, but approximately $700,000 in such improvements (which the district calls budget alternates) are on the table for discussion. McGrath is tentatively hoping that roughly $200,000 of the alternates can be included in the final budget and still keep the district's tax levy increase at or below 3.25 percent, which is below the district's allowable tax levy cap of 3.69 percent.
"All these numbers are a work in progress, and I hope many community members will join us in person or online at Tuesday's forum to learn more and share their opinions," says McGrath.
Among the topics that McGrath expects to address at the March 5 forum are an a look at the district's financial situation, planned school security improvements, and the renovations referendum expected next fall. This forum will NOT include a discussion of full-day versus half-day kindergarten because a separate evening has been set aside on March 18 to cover that important topic.
Anyone with high speed internet access (and a computer with
speakers so you can hear the presenters) who cannot attend the
forum in person will be able to watch it and type in their
comments live online. Shortly before 7:30 on Tuesday, a window
into the forum will open here:
For more details on how this technology works, see Online Forum information.