Budget & Taxes

2020-21 BKW district budget and propositions approved, two incumbents re-elected to school board

BKW school district residents have approved a $23.4 million district budget for the 2020-21 school year by a vote of 838-305. Two other propositions also passed. The vote was held by absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the votes were counted tonight, June 16.

Two incumbent candidates, Nathan Elble and Kimberly Lovell, were also re-elected to the Board of Education for new three-year terms beginning July 1, 2020. They ran unopposed for office. Elble received 903 votes and Lovell received 898 votes.

District voters approved two other propositions that appear on the June, 2020 ballot. One proposition sought 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 will use $150,000 from
the Transportation Reserve Fund toward the purchases. That proposition passed 797-344.

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. That proposition passed 787-344.

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:

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.

Taxes

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

School tax bills were mailed to residents on Aug. 31, 2020.  Tax bills are penalty-free if paid by Oct. 5, 2020; on Oct. 6, a 2 percent penalty is added to bills. All bills must be postmarked by Oct. 31, 2020. 

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