BKW Budget stays within tax cap, adds full day Pre-K, expands Ag program

On Tuesday, May 15, the Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District will put forward a proposed 2018-19 budget of $23,255,186 for residents to vote on. The spending plan represents a significant investment in the district’s future, both in college-and-career-readiness opportunities and early childhood education.

The 2018-19 budget has been crafted by district administrators and the Budget Advisory Committee since the fall of 2017. BKW Superintendent, Dr. Timothy Mundell, made budget presentations to the Board of Education at the February and March board meetings.

“We continue to add programs and opportunities for students at minimal cost to our community,” said Dr. Mundell about the proposed budget.

The $23,255,186 spending plan represents a 2.64% increase over the 2017-18 budget, and carries a 1% tax levy increase. The budget includes funding for a full day Pre-K program and a fully funded after school program at the elementary school, as well as funding for a Grades 3-12 Device Initiative. The New York state budget settlement in late March provided an additional $97,000 in Foundation Aid to the district, which was allocated to Instructional Technology in order to fund the Device Initiative. That initiative is expected to be rolled out in the 2018-19 school year as part of the district’s aggressive technology plan that is part of its annual goals.

The 1% tax levy increase moves the levy to $11,055,383, or $109,459 more than the 2017-18 budget. The levy increase covers the increase in cost for the Pre-K program, which is $120,000. For $1.60 per month to the taxpayer with a home assessed at $100,000, the district will be able to provide early academic intervention for 4 year olds, supervised after school activities for K-6 students, devices for all students in Grades 3-12, add new college credit bearing courses and new Ag Science courses at the high school, and maintain all programs established in the district over the past three years.

This focused investment in the district has seen the district’s graduation rate rise to 92% in 2017, its highest since 2012.

The budget vote will take place on Tuesday, May 15 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Secondary School Auditorium. Also on the ballot will be a proposition to purchase two 66 passenger buses and three Suburbans. There is also one seat up for election on the Board of Education. Qualifying candidates will be on the ballot as well.

The vote on the 2018-19 proposed budget will be held on Tuesday, May 15 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Secondary School Auditorium.