March 08 2017
Superintendent Spring discussed the staff and community budget workshops that took place and how the information collected will be used for budget planning.
About thirty community and sixty staff members participated in the workshops that were held throughout the month of February. During those workshop, participants were asked to review a long menu of programs, services, resources, tools, etc., all of which were proposed by school and program leaders.
Through an exercise, the participants were required to go down a long list in a workbook, discussing and then prioritizing the items by deciding which of the following applies:
Green: yes, must do, necessary
Yellow: high priority
Orange: nice to do, when we can
Red: not worth doing.
Each item in the workbook has a point value assigned to it. The total number of points for the workbook is 550. After making selection, however, the total green, yellow and orange selection, can - each - not exceed 100 points each.
Mr. Spring said that after reviewing the program and service prioritization, there was not much consistency between the staff and community member groups and provided some examples.
Staff prioritized offering an full day elementary summer program at our school as - must do - green.
Community member didn’t select as a green – they prioritized as – nice to do when we can – orange.
He noted that areas that are all green are easier to move forward with than an area with more red. Mr. Spring noted that these are areas with which we want to be thoughtful.
The administrative team will be meeting Friday and next week to review the results of the workshops and discuss how to move forward.
The exercise did not account for any cutting of programs and services. It was a menu of things to add. Superintendent Spring said that the prioritization provides information for spending plans for several years and help guide decisions.
He pointed out that, if there were not changes to Governor Cuomo’s school funding proposal (2% increase to Foundation Aid), the conversation will shift and the district would be forced to make approximately $2 million worth of cuts.
Mr. Spring said that it’s been quiet, but, Carl Heastie, Speaker of the Assembly, has spoken about the need to increase Foundation Aid. He’s talked about creating a timetable to “fully” phase in Foundation Aid. Mr. Spring noted that if Foundation Aid was phased in over three years, the district would be able to do many of the things outlined in the workbook and still bring the tax levy down.