2020-21 Budget Development Plan & Calendar
2020-21 BUDGET OBJECTIVES
In developing the budget, the Board of Education will:
- Work to balance the community’s desire for both excellent school programs and reasonable taxes by critically evaluating current practices, proposed expenditures, and revenue sources other than taxes.
- Promote opportunities that provide students with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes outlined in the district’s 21st-century Framework for Learning document so they can compete in a demanding and technologically sophisticated global marketplace and lead successful and civically engaged lives. This includes support for innovative instructional models and programs that have proven to be effective ways to deliver services, as well as support for the professional development necessary for such innovation.
- Monitor activities at the state level related to aid allocations, regulations, and policies and advocate for the interests of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District students and residents.
CONTEXT FOR DEVELOPING THE 2020-21 BUDGET
Based on the information received thus far combined with the projected deficit BH-BL is expected to incur this school year, 2020-21 is expected to be a difficult budget year. Depending on how certain factors play out, it’s likely we will not be able to maintain the same staffing levels in 2020-21 that we had at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. Potential retirements will be carefully monitored to assess whether or not those positions should be replaced on a full- or part-time basis. Savings can be achieved if newly hired part-time employees do not meet the standard for benefits. While we are confident we will come through this process with a student-centered, forward-thinking budget, we believe the process is likely to be significantly more difficult than it has been in previous years. As a point of reference for this budget development cycle, 1% of the BH-BL property tax levy is roughly $411,699. Therefore, every $411,699 in additional expense—or lost revenue—that is not ultimately balanced by new revenue or reductions elsewhere in the budget results in roughly a 1% tax levy increase. This is approximately equivalent to six full-time teaching positions.
- Potential increases for the 2020-21 school year may be costs associated with staff compensation, pension contributions, instructional technology expenditures, and health insurance. BH-BL should receive preliminary guidance on health insurance increases, required contributions to TRS and breakage associated with teacher retirements in February 2020. An advantage for BH-BL is there are no outstanding negotiations with collective bargaining organizations. Therefore, salary costs per employee for next year are largely a known element.
- We have received guidance that the starting point for the tax cap calculation for the 2020-21 budget year will be significantly below 2% due to the low rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Many of the main cost drivers for the district such as salaries, health insurance and pension costs do not generally track with the consumer price index. As such, increases to the tax levy for our normal operations will likely not be enough to keep up with the increasing costs in these areas.
- BH-BL is fortunate its residents by and large support high-quality programs when balanced by reasonable taxes. The May 2019 budget proposition, which was within the district’s tax levy cap, was approved by a nearly 74% passing rate.
- Since the 2014-15 school year, weighted average tax rate increases have averaged 1.38% due to controlled expenditure growth and increased assessed value from new construction in the district. It should be noted that the weighted average increase in the district’s tax rates over this time period have been slightly less than the rate of inflation over the same time period.
- Long-range fiscal planning and careful control of spending have helped BH-BL maintain a balanced budget over the years. We’ll continue to monitor the fund balance in accordance with the long-range fiscal planning tool.
2020-21 Calendar of Budget & Election Activities
- Dec. 13: Principals & managers submit budget requests
- Mid-Jan: Announcement of Governor’s budget proposals
- Jan. 24: Compiled budget requests & reference materials shared with BOE
- Jan. 30: Finance Committee Mtg, re: Gov.’s proposals m& budget material, 7 p.m., HS Board Room UPDATE: Meeting Cancelled. Residents are encouraged to attend the Forum on Sustainability of Schools from 7-8 p.m. at Columbia High School in East Greenbush.
- Feb. 5: Budget update* during regular BOE Mtg, 7 p.m., HS Board Room
- Feb. 26: Finance Committee Mtg, 6 p.m., HS Board Room
- Feb. 26: Budget update* during regular BOE Mtg, 7 p.m., HS Board Room
- Mar. 1: Submit tax levy limit information to state comptroller
- Mar. 10: Budget update* during regular BOE Mtg, 7 p.m., HS Board Room
- Mar. 24: Approve referenda & notice of annual mtg at BOE Mtg, 7 p.m., HS Board Room
- Apr. 3: Superintendent’s recommendations to BOE
- Apr. 6: Finance Committee Mtg re: Superintendent’s recommendations, 7 p.m., HS Board Room
- April 7: Budget Forum & Board Mtg, 6:30 p.m., HS Board Room—also broadcast online
- April 9: Finance Committee Mtg re: forum feedback, 7 p.m., HS Board Room (if needed)
- April 20: BOE candidates’ filing deadline
- April 21: Adopt Proposed 2020-21 Budget at BOE Mtg, 7 p.m., HS Board Room
- April 22: Property Tax Report Card submitted to SED
- April 24: Draft budget newsletter to BOE (tentative)
- May 1: Budget materials available in all schools & on district website
- May Outreach to inform school groups & community about 2020-21 budget
- May 5: Budget Hearing as part of regular BOE Mtg, 7 p.m., HS Board Room
- May 6: Budget notice & newsletter mailed to residents
- May 13: Meet-the-Candidates Night, 7 p.m., HS Blackbox Theater
- May 19: Public Budget Vote, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., High School gymnasium