BOCES budget features 2% increase

JOHNSTOWN – The Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Education Services presented its proposed administrative budget for 2014-15 at its annual meeting Wednesday.

The proposed administrative budget – which is about $2.4 million – is a 2 percent increase from the 2013-14 budget.

“We’ve made a commitment to keep our administrative budget to a 2 percent or lower increase and we have done that for the last three years,” BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel said. “The total budget is expanded because there is more sharing of services in this region than ever before.”

The proposal will be voted on by the school boards in the 15 component school districts April 23.

The proposed administrative budget, excluding the cost of health insurance, is $29,918 more than the adjusted 2013-14 budget approved by the districts last year. The majority of the increase is for contractual non-instructional salaries, which is expected to increase by $31,778.

Michel said the percentage each school district pays for the administrative budget is based on a formula set by the state, which factors in each district’s size, student population and poverty rate.

Michel said the district was able to save money within the budget due to health insurance savings, which totaled about $73,000, although the districts don’t pay for that cost.

According to meeting documents, the highest contributing school districts to the administrative budget include Amsterdam, $350,026; Gloversville, $270,878; and Broadalbin-Perth, $168,086.

The total HFM BOCES budget for 2014-15 is expected to be about $37.6 million. The total budget amount could still change because school districts are still requesting services for 2014-15, district officials said.

The largest expense is for special education, which takes up about 36.6 percent of the total budget at about $13.7 million. The other highest expense is non-instructional support, which includes the transportation and food management services provided to the Gloversville and Johnstown school districts.

School districts use BOCES to offer more classroom programs and student services.

On April 23, area school boards also will vote for members to fill the two available seats on the HFM BOCES Board of Education, which are currently held by Louis Capece and Jean LaPorta.

LaPorta was already endorsed by the Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education and will seek re-election. However, Capece, of Fort Plain, has decided not to seek re-election this year, but Lee Quackenbush, of OESJ, will look to take his seat on the BOCES board.