3/7: Budget conversation for BKW residents

This communication was originally shared with our school community through ParentSquare on Thursday, March 7.

Today we are introducing the first in a line of conversations to keep you updated on the 2024-25 budget process. Last week, we provided resources to keep informed about this year’s vote.
You can find that information here. Our conversation today is going to highlight a few key areas related to BKW’s financial status and what can be expected during this year’s budget process.

Some items covered are related to district programs and services, staffing and curriculum, and the financial items that directly affect our BKW community. We hope that you find this communication valuable and encourage our community stakeholders to participate in the budget conversation for the 2024-25 school year.

Foundation Aid Formula: Small-to-medium districts across New York state are continuing to advocate for the proposed Foundation Aid adjustments. Since January, Dr. Mundell has joined local and state advocates to continue lobbying regional government representatives on behalf of the district and our students. Attached to this notification, you will find a recent correspondence written on behalf of the 24 superintendents of the districts comprising the Capital Region BOCES area, expressing their opposition to, and concern with, the proposed changes to the Foundation Aid formula included in the SFY 25 Executive Budget proposal. Currently, Governor Hochul is committed to adjusting the Foundation Aid formula to realign the amount of funding for schools based on enrollment, while factoring in the impact of inflation. This new format would decrease the amount of funding for our programs and services, which could increase school class sizes, and create financial uncertainty for districts moving forward.

Shared Services: A common statewide theme being discussed by school districts is the potential to access curriculum programs through shared services. While currently in place in a limited capacity, this is a discussion moving forward as the educational/budget landscape changes in school communities. Distance learning programs, which include access to subjects ranging from arts & music, and science to technology and math, are available in some districts and are a possible solution to enrollment-based Foundation Aid. Possible BKW partners could include the Duanesburg, Schoharie, and Middleburgh districts. We will continue to keep those conversations open to our school community.

Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Report: Lastly, we would like to provide background on the New York State Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress List that was reported earlier this year. The district has continued to emphasize that its general reserve was utilized properly to spend down specific items listed in the report. Those details were shared in the Board of Education meeting on Monday, February 26. You can view that meeting here.

In addition, the district will continue to remove existing debt items during the 2024-25 school year by having existing debt expire, which is similar to the fiscal years of 2018-20, when a 2005 bond expired, and that debt was removed. Each year, districts take on fiscal responsibility to receive or remove existing debt as they work to keep our building grounds, classrooms, and facilities up to date. Moving forward, the district will consider additional projects, such as roof repairs on the elementary and secondary buildings, along with extensive repairs to the infrastructure of the transportation garage.

Stay tuned for the next budget conversation after the next Board of Education meeting on Monday, March 25. We will include the legislative outreach updates and more in the next installment of our budget outreach.