The Guilderland Board of Education is putting the call out to district residents to sign up for its Citizens Budget Advisory Committee to provide input for the 2007-2008 budget.
The committee meets six times beginning in March to review the proposed budget for the upcoming school year. The committee can make recommen-dations to the board regarding the educational and economic impact of the proposed spending plan.
Board president Dick Weisz said the idea behind the committee is to provoke some kind of dialogue between board members and the community.
Last year's committee had 28 members, and Weisz said that number is typical " the group usually ranges between 20 and 30 people.
"It's for parents, non-parents; it's open to everybody," said Weisz.
In addition to being open to all district residents, Weisz said that no prior experience with budgets is necessary.
"We offer a preliminary session for newcomers so they get an explanation on how to read the budget," said Weisz. The orientation for new members is at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 1, and the group's first meeting follows at 7:30 p.m. Other sessions are held March 6, 8, 15, 20 and 22 at the high school's Large Group Instruction room.
The committee's six sessions each focus on different aspects of the budget, including instructional programs, interscholastic sports, transportation, building and grounds, and professional development.
"We use it as a way to brainstorm all the budget ideas," said Weisz.
In the past, the public brainstorming sessions played an important role in shaping the budget, said Weisz.
"It helps us explore all of the decisions that go into the budget," he said. "Most years there are one or two ideas that come in that are really good ideas."
In an e-mail, Chuck Kuon, who has served as a committee member for three years, said he thinks that the school board takes the comments and suggestions of the committee seriously, as indicated by the changes made to the budget following the comment period.