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Voters Approve 2018-19 Budget

2018-19 Budget adds $1.5 million in services and decreases tax levy

Residents will vote on May 15

Schenectady residents will head to the polls on May 15 to vote on a $194,437,849 spending plan, adopted by the Board of Education on April 18,  that adds $1.5 million worth of programs and services for students and lowers the tax levy by $500,000. 

The budget, which represents a 4.37% spending increase over the curent year, includes the addition of 9.2 full-time new positions, of which 5.5 are teachers.  The plan is set to boost the  General Education Continuum (GEC), and provides for additional mental health support, trauma sensitive training and supports, improvements to instruction, extended day programming, and, enhanced climate and safety, including the addition of a high school assistant principal. 

Under the proposal, the district will provide greater access to mental health services through the addition of social worker and psychologist positions.

As part of the district's commitment to hire exceptional candidates and ensure a diverse workforce, the recruitment specialist position will be upgraded to an administator of recruitment, retention, and diversity.

Last year, voters approved a budget that allowed for the implementation of the General Education Continuum, a systematic pattern of tiered interventions and supports, for general education students who need additional academic assistance.  It mirrors supports provided to students with disabilities and offers a broad range of interventions best designed to meet the needs of each student.  Respite, integrated, and targeted programming, at the elementary, middle and high school levels, are interventions on the continuum.  

Included in the budget are 7.5 full-time teaching positions that will support the General Education Continuum.  This is the result of shifting resources and adding new positions to support the program. 

Increased spending in this budget also expands opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education, brings classroom libraries to third grade and increases peer mediation opportunities.

At a Glance
  • $194,437,849 in spending.
  • 4.37% increase in spending over the current year.
  • Adds $1.5 million to educatinal programs and services.
  • Well below the property tax  cap.
  • 5.5 teaching positions added.
  • Additional extended learning programs that allow educational opportunities before and after school.
  • Additional social workers and expansion of school psychologist services.
  • Trauma Sensitive  School (TSS) training for staff.
  • Focus on school climate and safety.
  • Reduces tax levy for third consecutive year.

 


Download the Budget Presentation



  2017-18 Proposed
2018-19
Change
General Fund $186,289,260 $194,437,849  $8,148,589
Food Service Fund $   6,217,000 $    6,217,000  $ 0
Special Aid Fund (Grants) $ 21,681,908 $ 20,298,987  -$1,382,921
Total $214,188,168 $220,953,826  $6,765,668


2018-2019  Proposal

District Budget:              +  $6.7 million  (3.16%)

Programs and Services    + $1.5 million

Tax Levy                         - $  .5 million (-1%)


Elementary School Program Changes:  $414,788

Middle School Program Changes:  $240,871

High School Program Changes:  $434, 250

District-Wide Support Changes:  $412,004

Here is an outline of the changes and staff additions that are proposed by area: 

General Education Continuum

4.5

Common Branch Teachers

$604,130

1.0

Instructional Coach

$ 90,000

 

Shifts

-$323,396

Pupil Personnel Services

2.5

Social Worker

$225,000

.2

Nurse at Schenectady High School

$ 4,500

.5

Psychologist for Out of District Students

$ 45,000

 

Increase for Mediation Matters (Student Conflict Resolution)

$ 45,000

 

TSS Training for Staff

$ 5,792

 

Shifts

-$180,000

Instructional Program

1.0

Teacher to Coordinate the STEAM Program (Fab Lab)

$ 90,000

1.0

Paraprofessional for Turn Around Room

$ 36,000

 

Extended Learning (Before and After School)

$222,270

.8

AVID Teachers, Training Supplies

$110,000

 

SAT Testing for all 11th Graders

$ 24,750

 

Classroom Libraries for Grade 3

$ 150,000

 

Universal Screener

$ 80,000

 

Expand Mindful Art from 2 to 4 Periods

$ 10,000

 

Technology

$ 30,000

 

Shifts

-$215,736

School Climate and Safety

 

Safety Improvements, Cameras, Glass Replacement, Door Stops

$155,000

1.0

Assistant Principal for 9th grade cohort

$100,000

Support Programs, Staff & Students

1.0

Parent Liaison

$ 33,000

.3

Increase Middle School Assistant Principals from 10 to 11 Months

$ 30,000

1.0

Guidance Counselor for Scheduling and Data

$ 90,000

1.0

Modifying the Recruiter Position to Administrator

$ 38,900

 

Add Summer Paraprofessional Support

$ 3,600


Shifts refer to re-purposing reading positions, as well as, two .4 library media specialist positions, to general education continuum co-teachers.    This is because secondary reading positions have been difficult to fill, and, we are aiming to boost the General Education Continuum.  The shift will not result in the elimination of jobs.

The Board of Education is expected to adopt a budget at the next meeting, which is scheduled for April 18.

Schenectady taxpayers will vote on a budget on May 15.

If you have any questions, concerns or ideas, please submit them through Let’s Talk Budget.



Budget Presentations

Date Area/Department
January 10 2018 Rollover Budget, Grants, BOCES Service
January 24 2018 Revenue
February 28 2018 Operations & Maintenance, Central Services, District Support
March 14 2018 Fixed Expense & Debt Service
March 21 2018 Curriculum & Instruction
March 28 2018 Pupil Personnel Services

January 24 2018
With the governor's budget release, Schenectady would receive an additional $1.6 million more, in Foundation Aid, than the current year.  This is significantly less than the prescribed amount that the district should be receiving in order to meet the needs of Schenectady's students.

If we apply the $1.6 million to our first rollover projection, the budget gap is reduced to - $5.2 million.  Again, this is based on the governor's school aid proposal.   This figure can, and usually does change, before the state budget is adopted. 

Districts learn what the state aid projection is when the NYS Budget is approved (anticipated April 1) and, at that time, can better prepare a 2018-19 budget proposal.   

Superintendent Larry Spring expects to present a draft budget to the board of education on April 11 and a final budget the following week, April 18.


Throughout the month of February, district leaders will be analyzing existing programs and services, academic needs and gathering feedback from stakeholders, including the Schenectady community.  Four community engagement sessions are scheduled at which Schenectady residents are encouraged to ask questions, learn about the budget process and provide feedback on what is important to them.  Information gathered from these meetings and discussions will be used to inform budget development decisions including areas of reduction - which will be necessary to close the gap and balance the budget. 

Revenue

The latest overview budget presentation was an update and an overview of Revenue,  presented at the January 24 board of education meeting.  The budget calendar lists the dates of presentations and topics featured.  

The revenue budget of $213.8 million comes to us from five sources:  state aid, tax levy/STAR/Pilots, grants, federal aid and other local revenue.

NYS Aid - 58%

Tax Levy/STAR/PILOTS - 26%

Grants - 10%

Other Local Revenue - 3%

Federal Aid - 3%

The vast majority of aid comes in the form of NYS School Aid otherwise known as Foundation Aid.  This aid is not tied to any specific expenditure.

Reserve Funds & Fund Balance

At the end of each year, after expenses are paid, money left over is called "fund balance."  These funds can be placed into restricted purpose accounts for specific expenses such as e
mployee benefits, insurance, unemployment, repairs, etc.  These reserve funds are restricted to their purpose.  

Districts can also, however, put funds in an account without designating them for a specific purpose.  This is called "unreserved" or "undesignated" fund balance.  It is capped at 4 percent of the overall budget.  

The reason districts set money aside is so that it is there at a later time when needed.  This is sometimes informally referred to as a "rainy day" fund.     The reserve fund earns interest like a saving account.

As of June 30, 2017, SCSD had $7.2 million in the unreserved, unrestricted fund balance account.  

The projected gap of -$5.2 million considers contractual salary increases, pension rate change estimates, and projected percentage increases in other areas.  It also considers the $1.6 million in Foundation Aid proposed by the governor.  This does not include any increase to the tax levy or use of fund balance. 


NEXT PRESENTATION:  February 7  - Operations and Maintenance Budget and the Food Service Fund

Questions?
If you have questions, concerns, ideas or comments, click here.



ROLLOVER BUDGET PROJECTION

January 10 2018
If the district keeps all programs, services and staffing as it is in 2017-18, the projected gap at this time  is -$6,849,479.

This is a rough projection that considers contractual salary increases, pension rate changes, projected percentage increases in other areas, no increase in Foundation Aid (NYS school aid) or tax and without use of fund balance.

Over time, figures will be further refined and projections will become more precise.  Updates will be posted.


Questions?
If you have questions, concerns, ideas or comments, click here.

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Voters Approve 2018-2019 Budget
Posted on 05/15/2018
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