Batavia Board of Education meeting highlights from the Batavia City School District (BCSD) Board of Education meeting on April 8, include news and updates about the following:
• Preliminary Budget Update
• School-to-Work Update
• Business Education Alliance Presentation
Preliminary Budget Update
Business Administrator Scott Rozanski brought the Board up to date on work being done on the preliminary budget proposal for the 2013-2014 school year.
As relayed at a previous Board meeting by Superintendent of Schools Chris Dailey, the Board advocated for containing any budget increase to 2 percent or less, but the initial “rollover” budget one that maintained but did not add any new expenditures -- would have resulted in a 4.26-percent increase to the budget and a consequent 6.11-percent increase in the tax levy primarily due to significant increases in pension and employee health care.
Furthermore, he noted that the calculation for our district’s Property Tax Cap Levy* equals a cap limited to a 5.51-percent increase (*As has been widely reported, the Property Tax Cap Levy, popularly called “the 2-percent tax cap,” is actually calculated by using the State’s eight-step formula then adding items that the State has identified as exempt from the restriction. If a district’s proposed budget falls at or below this calculated limit, passage of their budget requires 50-percent voter approval. If a proposal exceeds the calculated limit, passage requires 60-percent voter approval.) Our district’s tax cap of a 5.51-percent increase would mean an estimated tax increase of $1.27 per thousand dollars of assessed value or, on an $80,000 home, an annual tax increase of $101.
The draft summary presented to the Board on 3/26/13 by Rozanski noted changes resulting from six teacher retirements, two clerical retirements, and the elimination of a proposed position for a School Resource Officer that would have been partially funded by the City of Batavia and partially funded by the School District. That budget proposal came to $41,409,757, and carried a tax levy increase of 3.98 percent.
The current (4/8/13) preliminary summary presented to the Board included increased revenue of $930,000 from the State, primarily in restored State Aid, but also included additional expenditures of $571,000 -- approximately $121,000 in lost federal grants as well as an estimated $450,000 in additional expenses for the three employee contracts which are in the process of being negotiated.
The final figures for this proposal are: an expenditure total of $41,981,241 (up $1,894,509 or 4.73 percent from 2012-2013); a revenue total of $21,602,411 (up $1,897,680 or 9.63 percent from 2012-2013); an appropriated fund balance of $1,875,660 (down $365,965 or 16.33 percent from 2012-2013); and a tax levy of $18,503,170 (up $362,794 or 2 percent from 2012-2013).
“This budget proposal puts us at a 2-percent cap, which was the Board’s goal, rather than a 5.51-percent cap, which is what the State calculations permitted, and the elimination of jobs is not necessary,” Dailey said.
In addition, he noted, it preserves the funding for transportation so that all pre-kindergarten through first grade students will be eligible for bussing, which has been identified as a safety concern.
As a reminder, important dates related to the May vote include the following: Board of Education candidate petitions became available on March 12 and must be returned by April 24. Beginning May 6, copies of the proposed budget for 2013-2014 will be available in these Batavia locations: the Administration Offices (260 State St.), Batavia High School main office (260 State St.), Batavia Middle School main office (96 Ross St.), John Kennedy Intermediate School main office (166 Vine St.), Jackson Primary School main office (411 S. Jackson St.), and Richmond Memorial Library (19 Ross St.).
Organizations are encouraged to request a presentation of the proposal by calling the Superintendent’s Office (343-2480, ext. 1000). Presentations can be scheduled for after May 6, which is when the official proposal will be adopted by the Board.
The public hearing for the vote on the proposed budget will be at 7 p.m. May 14, in the High School library. The Budget Vote and Elections will be May 21 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., with polls open at Batavia High School (260 State St.) and John Kennedy Intermediate School (166 Vine St.).
Absentee Ballot voting is also permitted, and absentee ballots will be available during school business hours from the District Clerk from April 24 through May 14. April 24 is also Voter Registration Day from noon to 4 p.m. in the Administration Offices on State Street.
Please call if you have questions about the proposals or voting procedures: 343-2480, ext. 1000.
BHS Business Teacher and School-to-Work (STW) Coordinator Jillian Thomas provided an update on the STW programs she coordinates: Make a Difference Day, Job Shadows, Career Related Field Trips, and K-12 Junior Achievement.
For the 14th annual Make a Difference Day, 22 nonprofit agencies hosted 170 BHS seniors so that the students could learn about giving back to the community and, for many, explore possible career fields. In addition, by the end of 2013, at least 19 students will have completed job shadows, several classes will have taken career-related field trips such as that taken by AP Biology students to the University of Rochester science labs, and 14 classes will have had a Junior Achievement volunteer come in and teach a business-related lesson.
To provide some examples of the value of STW programs, Thomas provided an opportunity for two students to speak about their experiences. Daemeon Reeves spoke about his job shadow with a State Trooper which reinforced his desire to go into law enforcement, and Jessica Valvano-Hoag spoke about her Careers and Financial Management class (taught by Eileen Ognibene) in which she has learned much about how to pursue a career -- such as how to write a resume, and how to prepare for and conduct oneself in a job interview. Two highlights of her class experience were participating in a mock interview and completing a job shadow with a local photojournalist.
Genesee County Business Education Alliance
Bill Hayes, Business Education Alliance (BEA) board member, reviewed the services provided to the District through the BEA and thanked the District for its continued financial support as well as the guidance and preparation it provides to students in regard to work.
In fulfilling its mission, the BEA fosters a partnership between business and education and assists students in preparing for the world of work through coordinating or participating in such things as: the Business School Interaction Committee; Junior Achievement; mock interviews; job shadows; teacher site visits; students site visits; virtual site visit videos; career speaker luncheons; classroom visits; career fairs and camps; resources and referrals for counselors seeking specific career education and/or employment opportunities for students; and class projects for students that mimic real business interactions.
A few additional District-specific services for Batavia have included assisting with recruiting Senior Exit Project volunteers and judges, and providing mock interviews and job shadows for Eileen Ognibene’s Careers and Financial Management class. The BEA’s programs help the District meet the NYS Learning Standards, particularly in Career Development and Occupational Studies, and they expose students to career opportunities in our own region.