The budget development process at DCS
Planning a school budget takes on heightened focus from late winter until the public vote in May. However, developing a budget that both meets student needs and reflects community input is a year-long process.
Today's students are growing up in a global, complex and highly competitive society that demands much more than a basic education. It is the duty and mission of DCS to provide students with a depth and breadth of educational programs and services that equip them with the skills and knowledge to be college and career-ready, whether their plans include higher education, the workplace, a trade or craft, family business or the military.
The Duanesburg Central School District, like many small, rural districts, is challenged by rising expenses (e.g., state mandates, health insurance premiums), revenues that can't keep pace (e.g., reduced or flat state aid), and an annual tax levy limit/'cap'.
Each budget season, all programs and services are reviewed to find where savings can be found. In recent years, the district has made numerous cuts and consolidations, but care must be taken: cutting too much funding from non-mandated programs and services degrades the district’s educational program.
DCS is proud of its schools, students and community and is committed to moving forward as a place where people want to live, raise and educate their children. The district encourages the community to be a part of that process and help prepare students for the future.
All are welcome to participate in budget work sessions at DCS Board of Education meetings February through May. All are encouraged to vote on the budget on May 17. Polls are open from 1-9 p.m. in the Elementary School gym.Budget news & updates
Duanesburg Central School District residents approved the proposed $15,630,232 budget for the 2016-17 school year by a vote of 375 to 194, a 66 percentage of approval.
Residents also approved a proposition to purchase
two 65-passenger propane-powered school buses at a maximum cost of
$250,000 by a vote of 385 to 184.
They also re-elected Kent Sanders and elected Deborah F. Grier to the DCS Board of Education, to serve three-year terms beginning on July 1.
The 2016-17 budget includes a tax levy change of 1.46 percent, below the district's maximum allowable levy of 2.33 percent and increases spending by $9,314 over the current school year’s budget.
The budget was developed to support educational programs and services to meet student needs, while also providing additional funding for special education, Project Lead The Way and peer mediation. Funds will be provided to replace worn track team equipment, continue the football program and replace a boiler at the elementary school. The budget will also cover increased costs of health insurance, utilities and BOCES services.
For the approved bus purchase, DCS will be reimbursed by state aid for nearly 70 percent of the total purchase price, reducing the local cost to approximately $14,260 per year for five years.
For the Board of Education election, six candidates ran to fill seats that are currently held by Kent Sanders and Tina Gamache and whose terms expire on June 30. In addition to Sanders and Grier, the candidates included Tina Gamache, Tiffany Benway, O. Donald Collins and Frank Chiofalo, Jr., listed in the order they appeared on the ballot.
Board adopts 2016-17 proposed budget to go before voters
At their April 19 meeting, the Duanesburg Board of Education voted to adopt a proposed $15,630,232 budget for the 2016-17 school year that will be put before district residents for a vote on May 17. The proposed budget includes a tax levy change of 1.46 percent, which is well below the district's maximum allowable levy of 2.33 percent.
As the proposed levy change is below the district’s maximum allowable levy, the proposed budget requires a simple majority (50 percent plus one vote) for approval. The proposed budget would increase spending by $9,314 over the current year’s budget.
In April, school leaders learned that the DCS would receive a total of $6,967,115 in state aid, which is less than the district received last year, due to decreasing debt service costs. However, the 2016-17 state aid does include restoration of $164,952 previously slated to be withheld from DCS under the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), which was finally ended as part of the 2016 New York state budget.
The state implemented the GEA in 2009 to fill its own budget gap, which resolved a number of years ago. DCS joined with districts across the state in pressing for elimination of the GEA and is pleased that lawmakers finally heeded their call. Challenges remain. State school aid still lags behind 2008-09 funding levels. DCS continues to support efforts to restore adequate and equitable funding for schools.
The proposed budget would support educational programs and services to meet student needs, while also providing additional funding for special education, Project Lead The Way and peer mediation. Funds would be provided to replace worn track team equipment, continue the football program and replace a boiler at the elementary school. The proposed budget would also cover increased costs of health insurance, utilities and BOCES services.
On May 17, voters will also decide on a proposition to purchase two 65-passenger propane-powered school buses at a maximum cost of $250,000. If the proposition is approved, DCS would be reimbursed by state aid for nearly 70 percent of the total purchase price, reducing the local cost to approximately $14,260 per year for five years.
District residents will also be asked to elect two Board of Education members to serve three-year terms that begin on July 1, 2016. All candidates run at-large rather than for a specific board seat. The candidates are running to fill seats that are currently held by Kent Sanders and Tina Gamache, whose terms expire on June 30, 2016.
The candidates are Tina Gamache, Tiffany Benway, Deborah F. Grier, O. Donald Collins, Kent P. Sanders and Frank Chiofalo, Jr., listed in the order they will appear on the ballot. READ MORE
Budget newsletter may be downloaded
The DCS 2016-17 budget newsletter may be DOWNLOADED HERE.
Download the district's notice of annual meeting, budget vote and election.
Applications for absentee ballots will be obtainable between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays, from the District Clerk or by clicking the link at the right side of this page. Completed applications for absentee ballots must be received by the District Clerk by May 10, 2016 if the ballot is to be mailed to the voter, or May 16, 2016, if the ballot is to be delivered personally to the voter. Absentee ballots must be received by the District Clerk not later than 5 p.m. on May 17, 2016.
A list of all persons to whom absentee ballots have been issued will be available in the office of the District Clerk from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. prevailing time on each of the five days prior to the day of the election, except weekends, and on the day set for the election. Any qualified voter may challenge the acceptance of the ballot of any person on such list, by making his/her challenge and reasons therefor known to the Inspector of Election before the close of the polls.
Budget Calendar for 2016-17 adopted
The Duanesburg Board of Education adopted at their January 2016 meeting the 2016-17 School Year Budget Calendar. DOWNLOAD THE CALENDAR (PDF)
Superintendents call for more funding, restoration of GEA funds
DCS Superintendent Christine Crowley joined with fellow superintendents and Assemblyman Santabarbara on Jan. 22 in calling for increased school funding and restoration of GEA funds owed to their districts. READ MORE
Gov. Cuomo outlines school aid proposal and education agenda for 2016-17; aid falls below education groups’ recommendations
On Wednesday, Jan. 13, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented a state budget proposal that includes a $991 million school aid increase for 2016-17. The governor outlined his education agenda as part of the combined 2016 State of the State and Executive Budget Address. His proposals include support for struggling schools, expanding universal prekindergarten, new investments to benefit charter and nonpublic schools, and changes to the school tax relief (STAR) program. Cuomo also called on the New York State Education Department to enact the recent recommendations of his Common Core Task Force.
The budget proposal contained a $2.1 billion total school aid increase over a two-year period covering the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. The $991 million increase proposed for the first of those years would represent a 4.3 percent increase in state education funding, bringing it to a total of $24.2 billion next school year. However, the proposed year-to-year increase is less than half of what the state Board of Regents and statewide education groups have said schools need next year to ensure students’ success, including Duanesburg Central School District. READ MORE
Issues impacting school budgets
Learn more about issues affecting our schools:
Today's contingent budgetsPDFs/ContingentBudgetVote2016.pdf
Learn more: Mandates and mandate relief for schools
For many districts, fulfilling all mandates while staying within a property tax levy limit has meant ongoing reductions in non-mandated programs and services for students as well as the loss of staff positions. As a result, well-intended mandates threaten many nonmandated, but higher priority items for local communities.
Download an informative fact sheet (PDF) about mandates and mandate relief in New York State, and how mandates impact our schools.
What is the district planning for the future? Visit the DCS STRATEGIC PLANNING PAGE
What's the story behind the tax levy limit?
Many are confused by the continued use of the terminology "Tax Cap" as presented by the media and some officials in state government. Schools refer to the concept as a "Tax Levy Limit," but it's really a voter threshold. Click on the link to see a very short video that explains the tax levy limit: WATCH THE VIDEO .
Duanesburg supports Education Speaks blog
Nearly every day a local, regional or national news story about public education can be found in the media. For parents, education leaders and politicians alike, public education is a hot topic that requires the utmost attention. That is why DCS is supporting and sharing with the community a blog, Education Speaks, created by Capital Region BOCES. Education Speaks is devoted to a thoughtful discussion of the issues shaping public education in New York’s Greater Capital Region and beyond. So, if you're passionate about education, take a look at EDUCATION SPEAKS.