Superintendent Susan Swartz wants school taxpayers to know right off the bat that the district will once again this year present a well-thought-out budget that aims to please everyone.
She said that the board, which met Monday, March 3, along with school administrators, are striving to present what she calls a fiscally responsible budget, which is estimated at $46.1 million for the 2008-2009 school year.
We want everyone to understand that for us, even though this is budget time, we actually work on the budget year round. We have a lot to think about, and we will get there one step at the time, said Swartz.
Swartz said that there are several key factors outside the district's controls that affect the budget, including the adoption of the state budget, BOCES reductions, uncertainty about state aid numbers and rising insurance costs.
Swartz also warned that the district is still in the very early stages of coming up with a proposed budget that would go before the public.
The estimated amount now would represent a $1.5 million increase, or 3.5 percent, over last year's budget. Over the next six weeks, the board will review spending, including their carryover budget, which would cover continuing the same program and course offerings from this year.
Swartz presented the board with a budget that included goals for budget development, which include addressing equipment, facility and safety needs, and developing community understanding and support. She also reiterated her call for preparing a responsible budget that maintains and improves programs for students.
She said the strategy for budget sessions would be to develop a long-range plan for the district, as well as achieve proposals for the elementary, middle and high schools and districtwide transportation and facility needs.
Board President Margaret Smith said she wants to get the word out to the public that if they have special concerns or want to see how the board works to get to a final proposal, then they should attend any of the budget workshops.
Throughout March and April, the board meets at 7 p.m. Monday nights to discuss the different areas that make up the budget.
With a building proposal on the table that would dramatically improve the athletic fields and facilities, Smith suggests attending a meeting.
"We want public input as we work through the budget. This is about our community and their schools," said Smith.
Community voting on the budget will be held 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20, at the high school.""