Budget & Taxes

Important update on budget/school board election voting ballots

Budget Development

Budget development is a year-round process. The Board of Education and the Budget Advisory Committee work together to develop the budget throughout the year.

2020-21 District Budget Development

The BKW Board of Education adopted a $23.4 million proposed budget for the 2020-21 school year on May 11. The school board held a public hearing on the proposed budget on May 26. Access the link below to watch the budget hearing recorded on Facebook Live:

Public Voting on the District Budget

    Gov. Cuomo has signed an executive order setting the school budget vote and school board election vote day statewide to June 9, 2020. There will be no in-person voting. All voting will be done by mail-in ballot. Ballots are being mailed to voter’s homes with a postage paid return envelop. All votes must be received to the District Clerk no later than 5 p.m. on June 9 to be valid. Watch the video below to learn how to vote. All school district residents will also receive a budget postcard in the mail in early June. A downloadable version may be accessed below.

    What if I Did Not Receive a Voting Ballot?

      If you are a qualified voter and don’t receive an election ballot in June, please contact the District Clerk, at (518) 872-1293 or by email at anne.farnum@bkwschools.org and one will be sent to you.

      2020-21 Budget Documents

      School board adopts 2020-21 district budget

      The BKW Board of Education adopted a proposed budget for the 2020-21 school year on May 11. A public budget hearing will be held on Tuesday, May 26, at 5:30 p.m. on Facebook Live.

      Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order on May 1 announcing that the annual school budget vote day and school board elections for all school districts in NYS will be held on June 9, 2020.

      All school districts in New York state will be conducting voting by mail-in absentee ballot only this year. All ballots are due to the district no later than 5 p.m. on June 9. There will be no in-person voting again due to COVID-19. The executive order requires the district to mail absentee ballots to all registered voters in the district, including return postage. You will be receiving a voting ballot in the mail.

      Prior to budget adoption, the Superintendent had been working with the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) and Board of Education (BOE) since November developing a new budget for the 2020-21 school year. Following the Feb. 24 presentation to the BOE, the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic significantly changed the budget picture for all schools across the state. Throughout March and April, BKW administration, the BAC, and
      the school board have refined the budget proposal in an effort to address potential and real significant state aid reductions due to extraordinary tax revenue shortfalls to the NYS government.

      BKW Superintendent Dr. Timothy Mundell has identified two objectives in this year’s budget cycle:

      • providing an academic program that the community has come to expect and the students deserve, and
      • recognizing the current economic situation for the community and ensuring the budget does not impact taxes to community members.

      In his April 21 presentation, Dr. Mundell outlined for the BOE and community the steps taken in this year’s budget development process and the economic challenges facing the state and the school district. He also highlighted reductions in state aid included in the NYS budget enacted on April 1, as well as cost reduction the BKW district made to meet reduced revenue levels. Those reductions totaled more than $600,000 of expenses, without impacting current BKW programming. The reductions also mirrored state aid reductions, indicating sound and difficult decision making in the process. The budget for 2020-21 proposed on April 21, including the proposed reductions, was $23,683,627, nearly $200,000 less than the current district budget. The proposal also included a 1 percent tax DECREASE to the community.

      Compounding the problem, the NYS budget also calls for multiple “look back” periods to allow NYS to assess its revenues and adjust aid payments to school districts based on what revenues are available. According to a NYS Department of Budget report, the education shortfall in the NYS budget during this first “look back” is $2.5 billion. Understanding this, the district has been identifying additional expense reductions that would not impact current programs. Through retirements and equipment expense reductions, the district has been able to reduce costs by an additional $241,500, for a current proposed budget for 2020-21 of $23,442,127, while maintaining the originally propose 1 percent TAX DECREASE. This proposal is $400,000 less than the 2019-20 budget, or a reduction of 1.84 percent.

      Any questions regarding the budget proposal may be directed to the District Clerk, the Superintendent of Schools, or the President of the Board of Education. Please call (518) 872-1293, or email the District Clerk at anne.farnam@bkwschools.org.

      Residents to vote to fill two seats on the Board of Education

      There are two seats open on the BKW Board of Education for three-year terms beginning on July 1, 2020. The seats are currently held by Nathan Elble and Kimberly Lovell, who are seeking re-election to the board. Residents will vote via mail-in absentee ballot only on board candidates when they vote on the proposed 2020-21 school budget, with ballots to be received by the District Clerk no later than 5 p.m. on June 9. Read more about the candidates.

      Bus Purchase and Fund the Repair Reserve Propositions

      In addition to voting on the proposed budget and Board of Education candidates, district residents will consider two other propositions on the 2020 ballot. One proposition seeks voter approval to allow the district to purchase three (3) 72-passenger school buses and two (2) 28-passenger school buses at a cost not to exceed $489,000. The district would use $150,000 from the Transportation Reserve Fund toward the purchases. The bus purchases are eligible for state aid.
      Another proposition asks for voter approval to transfer up to $90,000 from the district’s Unemployment Insurance Payment Reserve Fund to the Repair Reserve Fund for repairs to capital improvements or equipment. This proposition has no tax impact.

      State’s fiscal uncertainty clouds BKW 2020-21 budget development process

      Faced with a great deal of uncertainty over the fiscal impact the Coronavirus pandemic is placing on New York state, the BKW Central School District continues the process of preparing a budget for the 2020-21 school year. Read full story

      Information on the current school year’s budget

      Residents of the Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District approved a $23,882,634 district budget for the 2019-20 school year on May 21, 2019 by a vote of 553-270. The bus purchase proposition also passed by a vote of 603-215. The budget  increases spending 2.7 percent or $627,448 from the current year and contains a 0.5 percent or $55,277 tax levy increase.
       
      Residents also elected two members to the BKW Board of Education for terms beginning on July 1, 2019. Four members were running for election for two seats on the school board. Elected were Rebecca Miller with 449 votes and Matthew Tedeschi with 438 votes. Others candidates were Mackenzie Hempstead with 379 votes and Robin Becker with 353 votes.

      Taxes

      Tax rates are set by the Board of Education in August.

      School tax bills were mailed to residents on Aug. 30, 2019.  Tax bills were penalty-free if paid by Oct. 5, 2019; on Oct. 6, a 2 percent penalty was added to bills. All bills were required to be postmarked by Oct. 31, 2019. 

      District residents can look up information about past and present school tax bills here.

      If you have any questions regarding your assessment or exemptions, or a change of address to report, contact a local assessor at the following numbers:

      • Town of Berne: (518) 872-1448
      • Town of Knox: (518) 669-6459
      • Town of Middleburgh: (518) 827-4887
      • Town of New Scotland: (518) 439-9020
      • Town of Rensselaerville: (518) 797-3798
      • Town of Westerlo: (518) 797-9265
      • Town of Wright: (518) 872-9726