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Ballston Spa preliminary school budget being discussed

A look at the Ballston Spa Central School District's preliminary budget shows a $3 million increase over last year's taxpayer adopted budget.

You want to keep the budget in check with what people can afford, District Spokesman Stuart Williams said. He explained that the school's budgeting process is the only place where people have a say in what will determine their tax rate.

The Board of Education is scheduled to adopt a 2008-2009 budget during its Wednesday, April 23 meeting.

The highest expenditure in the proposed $69,867,578 budget is for instruction. According to the proposed budget, $36,598,564 is allotted for instruction. This is up $2 million " or 6.3 percent " from last year's final budget.

Pupil transportation is up 8.8 percent from last year, according to the preliminary budget, which allocates $3,092,705 for transportation.

The budget cites the rising cost of diesel fuel for the increase in transportation cost.

The district is looking at a small increase, or even a decrease in the cost of employee benefits, according to preliminary budget materials. Employee benefits and other undistributed funds account for $21,923,058 of the preliminary budget, which is a 2.9 percent change over last years budget.

The kindergarten to fifth grade reconfiguration plan is a district budget initiative which is slated to cost $947,213. The cost of the reconfiguration addresses the added cost of staffing, including a new principal, and the curriculum planning and materials cost.

Although the reconfiguration will cost the district a fair amount of money, Williams said they are utilizing the state grant the district received to implement a full day kindergarten to its fullest by using some of money toward rebuilding their kindergarten-to-fifth grade curriculum.

The Board of Education adopted the reconfiguration plan in late February for implementation in September. The configuration will make the district's four elementary schools kindergarten-to-fifth grade compatible.

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