Schalmont school district readies budget

Regarding the increase in benefits costs, Kelsey said the district replaced its self-funded health insurance plan with a similar and less expensive program through Blue Shield to attempt to save as much as possible.

Other line item costs like debt services and BOCES remain virtually the same.

Aside from the budget, residents will also vote on a bus proposition in May.

The proposition would allocate $381,000 to buy three large buses and two small buses for the district. According to Kelsey, the buses would replace five old buses as part of the district's five-year replacement and payment plan designed to keep the transportation program up to date.

The budget workshop also included an overview of the district's goals including those concerning the maintenance of existing instructional programs, facilities and security improvements.

Kelsey also presented cost-saving measures such as an energy savings program and participation in a buying-consortium with other Schenectady County schools. The buying consortium allows schools to save on everything from trash removal and paper supplies to cafeteria food and bus parts.

And while other districts across the state are reeling over the uncertainty of the state budget in the wake of former Gov. Eliot Spitzer's resignation, Kelsey said Schalmont isn't as concerned about the fate of its state aid.

"We receive the minimum guarantee of a Foundation Aid funding increase anyway," said Kelsey.

Under the state's proposed budget, Schalmont will receive a 2.19 percent increase in Foundation Aid and a total of $11.8 million in state funding.

Residents will vote on the school budget, bus proposition and school board candidates on May 20.""

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