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Teacher's salaries explored in S. Colonie budget

Questions arose also over the area of the budget that detailed contributions for foster care students, as some parents did not understand why the district had to pay for foster care children who leave for another school district.

Backus explained that when a foster child starts their education in the South Colonie Central School District and the student chooses to go to a different district then it is financially responsible for that student. Superintendent Jon Buhner said the situation isn't exactly what it seems, as the district gets reimbursed by other districts.

"What you need to know is that's a wash," he said. "So a kid from somewhere else, three towns over, gets removed from their home, placed here, he will be educated here and we will back bill that kid. So it happens in both directions so we have to plan for that."

The district also makes payments to charter schools for students who live in the area, something every school in the state is required to do. Backus said that while there are 20 kids that live in the district this year, that number will be cut in half for the 2011-2012 school year.

There has been an effort by the district to keep some of these students in the district, Backus said, and said there needs to be a better one made.

"My feeling is that we need to compete," he said. "We need to show everyone that we're not just as good, but better. We need to work with the families to get those kids back."

Assistant Superintendent for Management Services Beverly Miller pointed out that things such as pension contributions, unemployment insurance and other unfunded mandates are items that are required by the state, which the district has no control over.

"Pensions and other mandates make up close to 20 percent of the budget," she said. "Everything from buying green cleaning products to how to report on special education to lighted schools bus signs to the color of the bus. All of those are mandates.""

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