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Budget Development Survey results


Feb. 24, 2016—Nearly 400 community stakeholders responded to a survey shared earlier this month by district leaders to gather input on how best to balance the district’s 2016-2017 budget given revenue constraints that continue to threaten educational programming in Guilderland and statewide.

Survey results show an overwhelming number of respondents do not want the district to make reductions to current programs and services to balance the budget with most favoring the use of fund balance to fill any budget gap.

View Feb. 23 Survey Highlights presentation to the Board of Education (PDF)

“The school district’s main sources of revenue – state aid and the property tax levy – face significant limitations this year,” said Superintendent Dr. Marie Wiles.

“The first indication of how much state aid the district might receive next year came last month with the Governor’s Executive Budget proposal and it was not encouraging,” she said. “There is no additional operating aid for Guilderland in the plan and continuation of the Gap Elimination Adjustment means an additional aid loss of more than $1.3 million.”

Dr. Wiles said that compounding the austere revenue outlook is a Consumer Price Index (CPI) for 2015 that was close to zero. The CPI is a key multiplier in the calculation of the district’s tax levy limit. With a near-zero CPI, the amount of revenue the district can levy through the property tax is very limited. To exceed it would require a supermajority (or at least 60 percent) of voters to approve the budget, she said.

“We also must consider our projected enrollment and needs of our students going forward,” she said. “That is why we asked our community to help us navigate some difficult decisions that lie ahead by weighing in on four options we have for closing any budget deficit we may face.”

The survey was conducted from February 1-15 and included informative videos describing four options for balancing the 2016-17 budget. These include:

(Option A) making reductions to current programs and services;

(Option B) denying requests for additional resources to support student needs and enrollment changes
(Option C) dipping into the district’s fund balance to make up any revenue shortfalls; or
(Option D) challenging the tax levy threshold and presenting a budget that will require approval of a supermajority of voters.


Highlights of the survey results

Presentation Slide 1


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