Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake district adopts budget

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District residents will see an average tax increase of 4.5 percent if they pass the Board of Education's $52.2 million adopted budget in the May 20 vote.

Actual tax increases will not be known until August when the state releases tax equalization rates, according to Assistant Superintendent Jacqueline St. Onge.

Voters will also be asked to decide on a $450,000 bus proposition, which includes the purchase of five new buses to replace buses that are more than 10 years old.

The district plans to purchase four, 66-passenger buses and one, 28-passenger bus.

According to Christy Multer, director of public relations for the district, 73 percent of the cost of the buses is reimbursable.

The budget is an increase of $1,996,714 over last year's $50.2 million budget, which is a 3.97 percent increase.

The largest portion of the adopted budget allots funds for staffing and rising gas prices.

Three quarters of the adopted budget accounts for staffing, according to Multer.

The school board spent an incredible amount of time this year working to match staffing with our enrollment and most urgent needs, said Superintendent Jim Schultz. "They had to make a number of tough decisions and ultimately came out with a net reduction of 2.8 full-time positions."

The proposed budget adds 1.5 special education teachers and one teacher assistant position to fill state-mandated requirements for classes with handicapped children.

The staffing costs also account for the hiring of a new custodian to cut back on overtime and handle the additional classroom space.

A half-time kindergarten teacher will also be added to the payroll, based on higher kindergarten enrollment.

The board decided to cut one full-time teacher assistant position at each of the district's five schools.

This cut will save the district more than $125,000 but will reduce some services to children.

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