B-P officials talk about proposal

BROADALBIN – Broadalbin-Perth Central School District officials met with around a dozen members of the community Tuesday to discuss the 2013-14 budget proposal.

The proposed budget, which has more than $30.06 million in appropriations, calls for a tax-levy increase of 3.36 percent, which is under the district’s calculated tax levy cap of 5.98 percent, district Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson said.

Residents were curious about why the tax increase was set at the 3.36 percent level, when a lower percentage had been discussed.

Business Administrator Marco Zumbolo said the school district could have raised the tax levy by about 1 percent after an increase in state education aid, but officials decided to store a portion of the funds to offset estimated increases in next year’s payments toward the state Employee and Teachers Retirement System.

The proposed budget also includes the reinstatement or expansion of some programs affected by budget cuts in recent years.

If the proposed budget is approved by voters, Broadalbin-Perth would reinstate district financial support for its junior varsity sports program (which was funded by the B-P Sports Booster Club during the 2012-13 school year), as well as two levels of modified sports.

The district also would add a second nurse at the Perth campus, which houses students in third through eighth grade. In addition, the district would reinstate upper-level French classes at the high school.

Tomlinson said it took a lot of hours to decide what older programs would be eliminated to make way for relevant programs.

“We have, over the past few years, eliminated or reduced programs that were just not serving the needs of the students and by doing that we are actually prioritizing and building programs such as the new STEM programs,” Tomlinson said.

Broadalbin-Perth also would bring back its students who are currently attending Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services’ Alternative High School.

Students pulled from the alternative school would attend a similar program held at the district.

Tomlinson said more than a dozen students from the district are in the alternative school at $14,000 of tuition per student, totalling to about $188,000. That money, though supplemented by state aid, would be saved.

Voters also will consider a proposition to purchase three 66-passenger buses, though this won’t have an impact on local property taxes, Zumbolo said. The old buses would be sold as well to help pay for the new buses, along with grants from the state. In total, the three new buses will cost around $340,000.

Voting will take place May 21 between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the high school and middle school gyms.

Arthur Cleveland is the Rural Fulton County Reporter. He can be reached at acleveland@leaderherald.com.