B-P eyes bigger budget for 2014-15

BROADALBIN – Broadalbin-Perth?Central?School District Treasurer and Business Administrator Marco Zumbolo presented the school board Monday with the projected 2014-15 district budget, which projects a 5.2 percent increase over the current budget.

According to documents from the district, the increase amounts to $1.5 million in total appropriations, with a total projected budget of $31.6 million. The 2013-14 budget totaled $30.05 million.

Zumbolo said this is still an early step of the budget process with some of the expected increases accounted for, but the district won’t know where it really stands until later in the process.

He said the budget assumes the continuation of all academic and extracurricular programs and conservatively projects increases in contractual expenses.

Zumbolo said the district is anticipating a $195,000 reduction in state aid.

According to meeting documents, most of the cost increases – more than $1.4 million – are for salaries, employee and retiree benefits and BOCES contractual costs. Salaries are estimated to increase by 4.3 percent, or $539,014, while employee and retiree benefits are projected to increase by 7.3 percent, or $527,650.

He also said the maximum allowable tax levy for the district in the coming budget will be $13.6 million, which is an increase of 2.14 percent, or a $284,802 increase from the prior year.

Zumbolo said given the maximum allowable levy and the reduction in state aid, the district is facing a nearly $980,000 gap, although it is early in the budget process.

“This budget draft is like when you go to buy a new car, it’s the sticker price,” Zumbolo said. “There is room to make adjustments.”

However, he said if the state Legislature continues to push for the removal of the Gap Elimination Adjustment in the 2014-15 state budget, the aid would cover the entire funding gap of the district.

The remaining increases within the projected budget are related specifically to the increases in mandated costs of educating children.

The budget projects a $100,000 increase under curriculum and development for the cost of Common Core and establishing a director of curriculum and instruction to monitor the changes.

“All the Common Core training and supplies are in this part of the budget and if it holds up, we are looking to add a curriculum and instruction director to handle all of these Common Core implementations,” Zumbolo said. “We hope this position stays in the budget, but it may not because adding a position is the first thing that goes when you’re cutting a budget.”

He said with the full implementation of Annual Professional Performance Review, Common Core curriculum and modules and the professional development related to these initiatives the mandated costs continue to rise.

Zumbolo said there was no tax-levy increase projections in the draft because gross revenue increases or decreases and reservation of fund balance for the 2014-15 fiscal year cannot be projected at this time.

The Board of Education will hold its first budget workshop meeting on March 8 at 7 a.m. in the Virtual AP Room at the high school.