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BH-BL adopts budget of $56.9M

— On April 5, the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District announced that it has adopted a budget for 2012-13. Voters will cast their ballots with others across the state on the budget on May 15.

Additional state aid, in the amount of $388,000 helped the district a great deal.

“It was a pleasant surprise. $165,000 of the additional aid will be used to maintain staffing,” said Christy Multer, public relations officer for the district.

The remaining $233,000 is undesignated as of yet and will be put into the fund balance, according to superintendant Jim Schultz. Schultz is having his last go at this budget business, as he is retiring at the end of this school year.

He said that he felt good about this year’s budget and that the process has produced a “budget about stability.”

Although the district has had to cut 50 positions within the last few years, they are not seeing the level of reductions that they have in the past.

By the numbers, the budget stands at $57 million, a 3.9 percent increase over last year’s. The tax levy is being raised by 2.35 percent, the maximum allowed, and would require a 50 percent majority vote. The levy amount is $35,085,477.

Tax rates for individual towns will be available in August.

If the district needs to go to a contingency budget, the consequences would be more severe. If the proposed budget is defeated twice, the budget can have no levy increase over the previous year. This would result in a budget that would be about $800,000 lower than the proposed budget as it stands now and a loss of 16 or more staff positions.

The district will be cutting 1.8 full time positions, and adding 1.2 for a net reduction of .6, according to Multer.

In an effort to save money, the district has implemented some green initiatives including low energy light fixtures and a heat reallocation system. Schultz said that the initiatives have helped with utility costs, but could not put a percentage to the savings so far.

What is essentially filling the gap in this budget are the cuts the district has made, amounting to around $800,000. One of the cuts was to one coach for winter cheerleading. There is still one coach for that program.

Voters will also get the chance to vote on two seats available on the Board of Education, and purchases of four buses which will run approximately $400,000.

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