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BOE begins discussions about 2013-14 school budget

Starting at the Feb. 4 Board of Education meeting, the Berne-Knox-Westerlo school district began discussions about next year’s operating budget and the tax levy that helps fund it. Many decisions must be made by the Board between now and late April in order for them to come to a resolution on what the budget should entail. Inevitably, the Board of Education's decisions represent the balance between recommendations from district officials and the desires of the community – and community input is crucial to that process. Please join them in future Board of Education meetings [click here for the schedule] in order to offer input during the budget development process. The BKW community will vote on the school budget on May 21, 2013.

Note: You can watch the current week's Board of Education meeting on Public Access TV, Channel 18 on Thurs. nights at  7 p.m.

The outlook for budgeting the 2013-14 school year and beyond...

Earlier this year, many districts in the Capital Region received grim news from New York State – the loss of even more state aid. While BKW isn’t expected to lose more aid next year, it’s not an unfamiliar situation to the district.

Over the last four school years BKW has lost over $1.8 million in its yearly state aid contribution to their school budget. Based on the Governor's proposals, aid is expected to increase this year, but it won’t make up that loss, especially with the increases the district faces in costs each year. These many rising costs include those associated with new educational mandates and standards the State is adopting. Just recently, this includes the Dignity for All Students Act, the new Annual Professional Performance Review, and phasing in using computers for state testing.

While Berne-Knox-Westerlo has worked carefully during the last four years to reduce expenditures and spend down its reserves (school savings account) and has found creative ways to maintain funding for their programs, the future of school funding still lies in peril all around the state.

“While we are proud to say that the numerous cost-saving measures we have implemented have allowed us to become more efficient, efficiency will reach its maximum eventually,” said Superintendent Dr. Paul Dorward. “Recent budget seasons have been hard because we don’t want to over-burden our taxpayers, but at the same time, we also know how important it is to provide our children with the resources they need to be prepared for higher education and the work-force.”

Help the BKW Board of Education make these decisions and make sure your voice is heard by coming to the district's Board of Education meetings. We will see you there!

Want to know more about the school funding crisis?

Want to know more about the issues in school funding that are creating difficulties for school districts across the state? Click here to view video from Dr. Rick Timbs, executive director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium, who explains how and why school funding is in crisis in New York state. In the video, he discusses the importance of eliminating state aid’s Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), providing adequate and equitable aid to education, and providing a meaningful measure of mandate relief to school districts.