District leaders are set to present a second draft of the 2020-21 budget proposal to the Board of Education at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22. Here is a quick rundown of the district’s budget scenario to this point:
Initial budget proposal
On February 26, the first draft of the proposed 2020-21 budget was presented to the Cohoes Board of Education. The proposal called for a spending plan of $44,306,224, representing a one percent increase ($438,488) over the current year budget.
This would have left the district with a revenue shortfall of $1.2 million due to growth in programs and staffing needs. The board began collaborating with district leadership and the budget committee to develop a budget plan that would bridge the gap in a fiscally and educationally responsible manner.
The state budget is released
Passage of the budget came against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and its significant impact on state finances. The budget, released on April 2, kept school foundation aid flat. This resulted in the district further limiting budget growth to 0 percent. This increased our total budget gap to $1.6 million.
Both proposals factor in a tax levy increase of 2.32 percent ($363,126), which is within the district’s allowable limit.
Reductions to staff and programs will be required to close this total gap. The second draft proposal will be presented to the board on April 22 at 6 p.m.
The community is invited to watch the live streamed board meeting and budget discussion.
Potential for additional changes to aid
The enacted state budget provides for three time periods during the state’s fiscal year when the State Division of Budget will evaluate revenues against projections and potentially withhold or adjust aid to localities, including school districts. This possibility for mid-year aid cuts means that schools may receive even less state funding than it appears at this time. The first of these review periods ends April 30.
When is the budget vote?
Under an executive order, from Governor Andrew Cuomo, all NYS school budget votes originally scheduled for May 19th have been postponed until at least June 1st. The directive also impacts the election of board members. The district will provide more information about the annual vote and timeline once it becomes available.