Budget Newsletter, May 2015 - Duanesburg Central School District

BUDGET 2015-16
Voters to decide May 19 on proposed $15,620,918 budget
with no tax levy increase
uanesburg Central School
District residents will go to
the polls on Tuesday, May 19 to
vote on a proposed $15,620,918
budget for the 2015-16 school year.
There would be no tax levy
increase under the proposed budget.
Although the district's maximum
allowable levy is 1.88 percent, the
proposed budget includes a tax
levy change of 0 percent. As the
proposed levy change is below the
district’s maximum allowable levy,
the proposed budget requires a
simple majority (50 percent plus one
vote) for approval.
The proposed budget increases
spending by 4.0 percent, or $602,918
over the current year’s budget. No
expenses related to the recently
approved building project are
included in the proposed budget.
The goal of district officials is
to develop a balanced budget that
supports educational programs,
accounts for rising costs, preserves
an adequate fund balance and
remains sensitive to the needs of
the community.
“Our Board of Education
has planned strategically and
thoughtfully to craft a budget
that serves our students well in a
competitive world, while at the same
time ensuring the stability and longterm health of our schools,” said
Superintendent Christine Crowley.
“The district also remains
conservative in its use of the fund
balance reserve, so as not to borrow
against our financial future.”
The board has appropriated
$592,879 from the reserve—which is
like a savings account—to balance
the budget.
In April, school leaders learned
that the state budget increased aid
to DCS by $581,809. The aid will
be used to maintain programs at
current levels, fund proposed budget
changes and continue providing an
educational program that meets the
needs of our students.
The aid amount includes $454,877
as a partial restoration of more
than $700,000 in state aid originally
promised to the district but withheld under the Gap Elimination
Adjustment (GEA). Since the state
implemented the GEA in 2009 to fill
its own budget gap, DCS has lost
between $700,000 and $1 million
annually in promised aid. The state
no longer has a budget deficit.
DCS is still owed more than
$260,000 because of the GEA, and
state school aid still lags behind
2008-09 (pre-GEA) funding levels.
DCS continues to support efforts to
fully eliminate the GEA and restore
adequate funding for schools.
In addition to maintaining current
educational programs and services,
the proposed budget would provide
additional funds for track team
equipment, field trips and supplies,
and to cover increased costs for
health insurance, utilities and
Budget At-A-Glance
‡‡ Proposed budget: $15,620,918
‡‡ Budget increase: $602,918
‡‡ Percent increase: 4%
‡‡ Tax levy increase: 0%
Polls are open on May 19 from
1 to 9 p.m. at the Elementary School.
BOCES services.
“The board is pleased to propose
a balanced budget with a 0 percent
tax levy increase that meets our
goals of providing an excellent
educational program in a positive
learning environment in a district
that is financially sound and
fiscally responsible,” said Board of
Education President Kent Sanders.
Residents will also vote on a bus
proposition (see page 6), and four
seats are open on the Board of
Education (see pages 5 and 8).
Proposed budget changes for 2015-16
The proposed budget balances fiscal responsibility with responsiveness to the needs of today’s students. The proposed budget carries
a 0 percent tax levy increase and includes funding for items identified as priorities by school staff and members of the community for
the continued welfare and success of our children, including:
■■ Funding for educational field trips, supplies and
equipment at the elementary and high schools.
■■ Additional funding for track team equipment.
■■ Continued support of STEM-focused courses
and activities, including: Project Lead The
Way Gateway to Technology and Pathway to
Engineering in the high school, the FIRST LEGO
League robotics club in the elementary school,
and the development of STEM-focused activities
in the community.
■■ Funding for teacher training for the high school
Project Lead The Way Robotics course.
■■ Continued support of music, art and technology
programs and activities for students of all ages.
Five fast facts about Duanesburg Central Schools
Duanesburg Central School District students and staff make their school and community proud by
continuing a tradition of excellence:
Duanesburg is consistently recognized as a high-performing district with a high return on investment. The district has
one of the highest graduation rates in the region.
Most DCS seniors are college-bound next fall, and thanks to advanced study opportunities provided by the district,
many will graduate with college credits already in hand, saving them both time and money. They will study locally
at Hudson Valley Community College, Schenectady County Community College, College of Saint Rose, Russell Sage,
Siena, Union, Albany College of Pharmacy and SUNY Cobleskill, Delhi and Albany, including the College of Nanoscale
Science & Engineering. Others have been accepted to Cornell, the University of Vermont, Rochester Institute of
Technology and SUNY schools in other regions.
Duanesburg students excel in Career and Technical Education, further expanding their future options. Each May,
they are among an elite group of students inducted into the National Technical Honor Society for achieving in both
academic and career education. DCS students have won regional and state competitions and have represented their
school nationally.
DCS students are also making their mark on music and the arts. Many annually score “outstanding” or “excellent”
in the NYSSMA Festival, earn statewide recognition for their artwork and graduate with impressive portfolios.
Duanesburg athletes excel on the field and in the classroom, earning N.Y.S. Public High School Athletic Association
Scholar-Athlete Team Awards for maintaining a grade-point average greater than 90 and winning regional and
state titles.
BUDGET 2015-16
Three-Part Budget Summary
Projected expenses: Where the money goes
New York State requires school districts
to present their budgets divided
into three expenditure categories­—
administrative, program and capital.
Employee Benefits
ADMINISTRATIVE 2014-152015-16
$1,574,216 $1,622,374
General Support
‡‡ Includes salaries and benefits of
administrators, supervisors and
administrative clerical staff; school
board costs; tax collection; legal and
auditing costs; property insurance
costs; BOCES administrative costs and
central data processing.
PROGRAM 2014-15 2015-16
AMOUNT: $11,044,931$11,540,104
PERCENT OF TOTAL: 73.5% 73.9%
‡‡ Includes salaries and benefits
of all teachers and staff who
deliver pupil services (guidance,
health, library/media, etc.), BOCES
programs, special education services,
textbooks, equipment, athletics and
transportation costs (except bus
Debt Service
Interfund Transfer
Total Expenditures
Revenue summary: Where money comes from
Property Taxes
$7,736,823 $7,736,823
State Aid
Local Sources
$212,507 $0
Transfers $0
CAPITAL 2014-15 2015-16
AMOUNT: $2,398,853$2,458,440
16.0% 15.7%
Total Revenues
‡‡ Includes salaries and benefits of
maintenance and custodial staff,
debt service on buildings, bus
purchases, utilities, general insurance
and tax certiorari, and court-ordered
Revenues & Fund Balance $15,018,000
Use of Fund Balance
Q & A on the proposed budget
State law requires school
districts to use a multi-step
formula to calculate their tax levy
limit. Adding in certain allowable
exemptions creates the maximum
allowable tax levy that a district can
propose as part of its annual budget
for which only the approval of a
simple majority (50 percent
plus one) is required.
A proposed tax levy that is above
the limit requires approval by a
supermajority of voters
(60 percent). Duanesburg is
proposing a budget that carries a
0 percent tax levy increase, which
is below its maximum allowable
increase of 1.88 percent. Therefore,
budget approval requires a majority
vote of 50 percent plus one.
than expected and/or by spending
less than the amount budgeted. In
the 2015-16 proposal, the board
is appropriating $592,879 of the
district’s available fund balance.
Doing this allows the board to
stay below the district’s maximum
allowable tax levy increase.
Yes. DCS has a history of
working with other school
districts to increase efficiency and
decrease costs through sharing and
will continue to do so.
Sharing bus runs with neighboring
schools reduces transportation
costs, makes best use of vehicles
and conserves energy.
The district also saves money by
participating in consortiums for
health insurance and purchasing.
Distance learning technology is
used to provide expanded course
offerings for students through
shared instruction and curricula.
As a member of a regional Virtual
Advanced Placement (VAP)
Consortium, DCS provides a number
of VAP courses that help seniors get
a jumpstart on college while building
their transcripts.
It is a “rainy day” fund
typically set aside to pay
for emergencies. A fund
balance reserve is created when
the district is able to generate a
surplus by receiving more revenue
To achieve further savings, the
district also considers shared special
education services as appropriate
and when those services would
allow students to attend school
closer to home.
The tax levy is the total
amount of money that
the district raises from
local taxpayers, while a tax rate is
the amount of money residents pay
per $1,000 of assessed value.
Residents who will be out of
town or are unable to vote
in person due to illness or
disability can vote
by absentee ballot.
For applications and
information, visit the DCS
website or call the district
office at (518) 895-2279.
Following the budget vote,
residents will be asked to
complete a voluntary and
anonymous exit survey.
The survey will help the
district gather feedback
from the community and
guide future budget and
program decisions.
You’re invited...
WHO: All eligible residents*
WHAT: To vote on the 2015-16
school budget, bus proposition
and board of education elections
WHEN: Tuesday, May 19,
from 1 to 9 p.m.
WHERE: Duanesburg
Elementary School Gym,
165 Chadwick Road, Delanson.
WHY: Because your
vote counts!
* Voters must be U.S. citizens, at least 18
years old and residents of the school district
for at least 30 days before the vote.
BUDGET 2015-16
Community to elect four to Board
- continued from page 8
District residents will vote on May 19 to fill four vacancies on the Board of
Education. Three members will serve three-year terms and one member will
serve a one-year term, with all terms beginning July 1, 2015. The board seats
are currently held by Tina Gamache, Dirk Felton and Christina Loukides, whose
current, three-year terms expire June 30, 2015, and Robert Fiorini, who was
appointed last fall to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Ken Meyers.
The three candidates with the top votes will serve three-year terms and the
candidate with the fourth highest number of votes will serve the one-year term.
The following candidates, in ballot order, are running for the board.
Tina Gamache is seeking her second consecutive term on the Board of
Education, where she currently serves as vice president. She lives in Delanson
with her husband Bob and their children Rachel, Matthew and Zachary.
Gamache holds a degree from Bryant and Stratton College and is currently
employed with Hometown Mortgage. She is past president of the Duanesburg
PTSO, a long-time board member with the Duanesburg Little League and has
served on several district committees and teams.
Robert Fiorini, who was appointed last fall to fill a board vacancy created
by the resignation of Ken Meyers, also served on the Board of Education from
2011-2014, including serving as president from 2012 to 2014. He lives in
Delanson with his wife Elizabeth and their children Alexander and Alison. Fiorini
earned his bachelor’s degree at SUNY Albany. He is president of Hilltop Heating
Corporation and director of information technology and programming for
American Residential Energy Verification System, LLC. He has been active as a
volunteer with Duanesburg Little League and Junior Achievement.
Henry “Dirk” Felton is also running for his second term on the board,
where he also served as a co-vice president from 2013 to 2014. He lives in
Duanesburg with his wife Annabel and their daughters Eleanor and Julia. He
holds a bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College, a master’s degree from Stevens
Institute of Technology in New Jersey and works for the N.Y.S. Department of
Environmental Conservation. He has been active in the community as an AYSO
Soccer board member and in Schoharie flood recovery efforts.
What a budget
defeat would mean
If the budget is defeated on
May 19, the district would have
three options: resubmit the same
budget or a revised budget for
a revote on June 16, or adopt a
contingent budget. If residents vote
down a resubmitted or revised
budget, a contingent budget must
be adopted.
The state’s tax levy limit law
sets a 0 percent cap on the tax levy
increase for contingent budgets;
a district cannot increase the levy
over the previous year's level. (In
the past, districts had to instead
adhere to a spending cap under a
contingent budget).
Other aspects of the contingent
budget rules remain the same.
Certain items would have to be
removed from that contingent
budget, including community use
of school facilities (unless a fee is
paid), non-essential maintenance,
and some supply and equipment
purchases. The administrative
component of the budget would also
be subject to certain restrictions.
Deborah Grier is running for her first term on the Board of Education. She lives
in Delanson with her husband Jason and their children Alexis, Lorel, Allie, Keegan
and Gavin. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Master of Science in
Instructional Systems Design from Florida State University and is vice president
of Health Management Systems’ Albany location. Grier has served as a board
member of the local Pop Warner Football organization, as an annual Junior
Achievement volunteer and as a Relay For Life team leader and fundraiser.
Christina Loukides is seeking her third term on the Board of Education, where
she served as vice president in 2013. She lives in Delanson with her husband
Ted and their children Nick and Sophia. Loukides is a graduate of the University
of North Carolina at Greensboro, Adelphi University and Lehman College. She
is a teacher for deaf high school students through Capital Region BOCES.
Over the years, she has volunteered for many school and community-related
activities including her children’s class fundraisers, PTSO events, the Hoops to
Help Basketball Tournament Fundraiser and most recently, the Booster Club’s
Homecoming Committee in conjunction with the Town of Duanesburg's 250th
Anniversary Celebration.
Voters to decide on bus purchase proposition
On May 19, district residents will vote on a separate
proposition to purchase three buses—a 65-passenger propanefueled bus, a 30-passenger bus and a Chevrolet Suburban—at a
maximum cost of $225,000.
If the proposition is approved, DCS would be reimbursed
by state aid for nearly 70 percent of the total purchase price,
reducing the local cost to approximately $13,500 per year for
five years.
The proposition to purchase new buses is part of the district’s
ongoing bus replacement plan, which is designed to keep the bus
fleet in safe working order while reducing the cost to taxpayers.
The new buses would replace older buses that are becoming too costly to
maintain due to frequent repairs and the need for replacement parts.
“State law requires our buses to undergo rigorous safety inspections
two times a year,” said Transportation Manager Harry Folckemer. “State
inspectors tell us whether our buses are running efficiently and safely, and
they also monitor body and undercarriage corrosion. Road salt and other
de-icers used during our Northeast winters can deteriorate bus bodies
and frames.”
The State Education Department recommends districts replace small
buses every five to seven years and large buses every 10 years. DCS
purchases an average of two to three buses per year. The retired buses are
typically 10 years old and unlikely to pass state safety inspections without
significant investment in parts and repairs.
If the proposition is defeated, the
district would not be able to take
advantage of the available state
aid reimbursement to purchase the
buses. Existing district vehicles
would continue to be used, with
deterioration potentially increasing
risks to students and decreasing
trade-in value.
The Duanesburg Central School
District encompasses 60 square
miles, quite a distance for buses
to travel daily. DCS buses also
transport students for field trips,
sporting events and other out-ofdistrict destinations throughout the
year, including summer.
Whenever possible, DCS shares
transportation services with other
school districts, with a goal of
transporting students in the most
efficient and cost-effective manner
possible. Such a practice, combined
with the bus replacement program,
helps keep expenses down and
students safe.
BUDGET 2015-16
The information below is the “School District Budget Notice” as required by New York State law. School districts must distribute this
notice, as prescribed, to all district residents.
Overall Budget Proposal
Total Budgeted Amount, Not Including Separate Propositions
Budget Adopted for the
2014-15 School Year
Budget Proposed for the 2015-16 School Year
*Contingent Budget for the 2015-16 School Year
Increase/Decrease for the 2015-2016 School Year
Percentage Increase/Decrease in Proposed Budget
Change in the Consumer Price Index
A. Proposed Tax Levy to Support the Total Budgeted Amount
B. Levy to Support Library Debt, if Applicable
C. Levy for Non-Excludable Propositions, if Applicable **
D. Total Tax Cap Reserve Amount Used to Reduce Current Year Levy
G. School Tax Levy Limit, Excluding Levy for Permissible Exclusions
H. Total Proposed Tax Levy for School Purposes, Excluding Permissible Exclusions
and Levy for Library Debt, Plus Prior Year Tax Cap Reserve (E - B - F + D)
E. Total Proposed School Year Tax Levy (A + B + C - D)
F. Permissible Exclusions to the School Tax Levy Limit
I. Difference: (G - H) (Negative Value Requires 60% Voter Approval
–See Note Below Regarding Separate Propositions) **
Administrative Component
Program Component
Capital Component
*Reductions would be required in the areas of staffing, equipment, maintenance and transportation.
List Separate Propositions that are not
included in the Total Budgeted Amount:
(Tax Levy associated with educational or
transportation propositions are not
eligible for exclusion and may affect voter
approval requirements)
Bus purchases
Under the Budget Proposed
for the 2015-16 School Year
Estimated Basic STAR Exemption Savings 1$500
The annual budget vote for the fiscal year 2015-16 by the qualified voters of the Duanesburg Central School District, Schenectady County, New York, will be held at Duanesburg Elementary
School in said district on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, between the hours of 1 and 9 p.m., prevailing time, at which time the polls will be opened to vote by digital machine.
1 The basic school tax relief (STAR) exemption is authorized by section 425 of the Real Property Tax Law.
Looking for more budget information?
Visit www.duanesburg.org for more 2015-16
budget news, videos explaining the GEA and
tax levy limit, and budget presentations.
Don’t forget to vote
on the 2015-16 School Budget
Tuesday, May 19, from 1 to 9 p.m. at
Duanesburg Elementary School
Board of Education
Kent Sanders
Tina Gamache
Vice President
Robert Fiorini
Dirk Felton
Christina Loukides
Mike Jackson
Mara Burns
Christine Crowley
Monique Jacobs
Elementary School Principal
Andrea Conover
Interim Business
Anthony DiPace
Duanesburg C E N T R A L S C H O O L D I S T R I C T
133 School Drive l Delanson, NY 12053
U.S. Postage
Permit #4
High School Principal
Leslie Wehner
Middle School Principal
Penny Hardenstine
Harry Folckemer/
Karen Weiler
Produced in cooperation with the Capital
Region BOCES Communications Service.
Community to elect four to Board of Education
Voters will be asked to elect four Board of Education members. Three members will serve threeyear terms and one member will serve a one-year term, with all terms beginning July 1, 2015. All
candidates run at-large rather than for a specific board seat. The three candidates with the top votes
will serve three-year terms and the candidate with the fourth highest number of votes will serve the
one-year term.
Individuals are eligible for election to the Board of Education if they are qualified voters of the
district (district resident, U.S. citizen, 18 and older) and can read and write. New York State
Education Law does not limit the number of terms of office a member may serve. Board members
receive no salaries or other compensation. The candidates are Tina Gamache, Robert Fiorini, Henry
"Dirk" Felton, Deborah Grier and Christina Loukides. Please see page 5 for their biographies and
more information on the election.
With a theme of "Little Town, Big Voice: Celebrating 250 Years," DCS students, staff and members of the community
honored regional history, local pride and more during the 12th annual Duanesburg Day on March 28 at the high school.