School district eyes $753K gap in budget plan

BROADALBIN – The current draft of Broadalbin-Perth Central School District’s 2014-15 budget proposal has a gap of $753,937 between projected revenues and expenditures.

However, district leaders are optimistic the gap can be closed without affecting programs or exceeding Broadalbin-Perth’s calculated tax-levy limit of 2.14 percent.

District Treasurer and Business Administrator Marco Zumbolo said some of the $753,937 gap will be covered by a combination of state aid within the proposed budget, further decreases in spending and using a portion of the fund balance.

District officials are still hoping the Gap Elimination Adjustment will be eliminated from the state budget, which would provide more money to the district. Through the GEA, New York state decreases schools’ allotment of aid to close the state budget deficit. Since the 2009-10 school year, Broadalbin-Perth has lost more than $12 million in promised state aid to the GEA, and under the current proposal is slated to lose an additional $1.44 million to the GEA in 2014-15.

“If the Legislature restores just half of the GEA, our budget gap will decrease to $0,” Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson said in a news release.

Until the Legislature finalizes the state budget, the district’s current plan uses state aid numbers from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive state budget proposal.

The district’s 2013-14 budget totaled $30.05 million. The current budget proposal for 2014-15 totals $31.6 million.

According to meeting documents, most of the cost increases – more than $1.5 million – are for salaries, employee and retiree benefits and Board of Cooperative Educational Services contractual costs. Salaries are estimated to increase by 3.9 percent, or $486,324, while employee and retiree benefits are projected to increase by 6.5 percent, or $467,650.

BOCES services are anticipated to increase by 18.4 percent, or $554,750. The budget proposal maintains all academic and extracurricular activities.

In this budget draft, the only notable new expenditure is a new position, director of curriculum and instruction/grant coordinator. The director would be in charge of overseeing Broadalbin-Perth’s transition to the Common Core State Standards, including coordinating professional development for teachers and collaborating with BOCES and state Education Department officials. The director would also be responsible for managing and overseeing all programs funded by grants.

A $100,000 increase is shown under curriculum and development for the cost of Common Core and establishing the new position, according to meeting documents. Part of the director’s salary would be paid by using grant funds, according to a news release.

The anticipated start date for the director is July 1, officials said.

The district’s Board of Education must adopt a budget proposal for the 2014-15 school year by April 25. The district will host a public hearing on the budget proposal at 7 p.m. May 13. Qualified voters will go to the polls May 20.