B-Spa Schools adopts $70.5M budget

The Ballston Spa School District Board of Education unanimously adopted a nearly $70.5 million 2009-2010 budget at its Wednesday, April 22, meeting. It's a .46 percent increase from this year's school budget.

This is a very responsible budget the district can be proud to present to our community, said Superintendent Joseph Dragone. "Despite the lack of revenue we've seen, we've really managed to control expenses."

The district tax levy will increase by an average of 1.9 percent, which translates to $63 for a $221,000 home. Actual property tax rates will be available at a public hearing on the budget scheduled for Wednesday, May 6, at 7 p.m. in the High School library, after town assessment rates are finalized.

The budget-to-budget increase of $319,904 was largely due to contractual obligations, said Dragone. Even with federal stimulus funds flowing into the district next year, Ballston Spa will suffer a 4.36 percent decrease in its aid.

"We're being funded by the state at the level as five years ago," said Dragone.

The biggest development of the budgeting process was the announcement that district staff and teachers will take furloughs to avoid widespread layoffs.

Teachers will work one day less under the plan, and administrators will lose two-and-a-half days. The differences are due to the district having both 10 and 12-month employees.

The days will be taken on days children are not in class, so the length of the school year will not be impacted.

The show of cooperation between the district and its employees was roundly praised. Such measures will allow the school to continue providing a comparable level of service without breaking the bank, said Board of Education Vice President Keith Stewart.

"We could not have gotten to that point without their help," he said. "We did what we had to do, but we did not throw the baby out with the wash."

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