Superintendent Dr. Douglas Adams and Assistant Superintendent of Business Kelly Seibert provided an overview of what has been an eight-month process with a series of Board presentations, including topics such as fund and balance reserve (August 7), transportation (October 2), athletics (October 16), employee benefits (November 20) and special education (December 4). Adams noted that the presentations are available to the public through BoardDocs.
Seibert reviewed revised state aid figures, which will net the District an additional $483,934 in state aid than had been projected prior to passage of the state budget. However, the District now anticipates a loss of $84,287 in federal Title I and IDEA funding due to sequestration. The net result is a $402,647 overall increase in 2013-14 revenues.
Adams also briefly reviewed the impact of a contingency budget, should the voters reject the District’s proposed budget. He indicated that an additional $2 million in reductions would be needed. Reductions to equipment, public use of facilities and student supplies would be required by law. Other areas potentially targeted for contingency-related reductions would include athletics, elective courses, music and arts programming, security, technology and transportation.
Based on the information presented, Board President Craig Long called for an additional budget workshop to make decisions regarding the use of additional state aid monies, tax levy, reserve fund usage and recommended reductions. The final budget workshop has been scheduled for Thursday, April 18 at 6:30pm.
Adams closed the presentation by answering questions from Board members as well as those submitted by students, parents, staff and community members over the past several weeks. He emphasized that the proposed reduction in music would not impact marching band or students’ access to music and was strictly related to decreased student enrollment at Suffern Middle School. The superintendent also responded to questions on clinical staffing, piercing the tax cap, historic voter approval rates and more. Questions and answers are included in the April 4 presentation posted online.
Requests to allow a public comment period for what was the last published budget workshop were honored and several attendees made use of the opportunity to share thoughts and pose questions for Board consideration.
The Board will adopt the 2013-14 budget on April 23. The public school budget vote will be held on May 21.