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Fulton Schools Set Budget Planning Process, Though Tax Cap Makes Planning Uncertain

It takes about six months to build the budget that Fulton City School District taxpayers vote on each May.  The Board of Education may add to an already long process for the 2012 budget.

It will begin in early December, said Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch, with a Dec. 3 workshop for the board “to discuss parameters — the context in which we will be building the budget — the knowns and the unknowns.”

The district will also use the budget committee that it has used for several years as a way to gather advice and feedback.  The committee consists of members of the board, some administrators, and some members of the community who volunteer for the job.

New Board of Education member Fred Cavalier served as a community member of the budget committee.

The committee will meet twice a month, on the Tuesdays when the board is not holding its regular meeting.

Lynch suggested that the board consider using at least one of the advisory committee meeting nights for a community forum, to try to reach a broader audience.

The process of building a budget may be similar to the process used in years past, but there will be a significant difference in the budget itself.

The tax levy cap imposed by Governor Cuomo will limit increases in the tax levy (and not overall tax increases) to 2% unless 60% of voters agree to a larger increase.

But state agencies are still trying to interpret the new law so schools and local governments can stay within its guidelines.

“The (state) Comptroller’s Office is still trying to figure it out,” said board President Robbin Griffin of what she heard at a recent statewide convention.

The new law has already imposed one condition which doesn’t seem logical: By March 1, districts must tell the state what it’s planning for a tax levy increase.  However, districts won’t know how much state aid they will get — and therefore, how much of the budget must be made up by local taxes — until at least a month later, if the state budget passed by its traditionally-ignored April 1 deadline.

5 Comments

  1. What ever happened to Lottery monies going towards education, I see tickets being sold while school programs are being cut. Where the heck is all the money going anyway?

  2. I concur on the lottery monies – the wool has clearly been pulled over our eyes regarding that!!

    FedUp – I would love for you to step into just one of the schools in the district for one week, and to see what these teachers are up against. From what I have seen, they have been forced to teach to the test and are doing remarkably with the resources they have. Cut further? Where exactly would you like them to cut???? My child was looking forward to many things this year, but unfortunately some of those things are gone. These kids are provided with strong academic support, and a few, although the way I see it not many, programs to keep them involved in school and create well rounded individuals. Did YOU attend ANY board meetings last year to voice your concerns, or find out what was REALLY going on, instead of waiting for the vote and assuming you knew what was going on? Many in our community did not. Do you know what they had to cut last year? Or the year before? Or the year before that? Do you have any idea what not only our school district, but many districts, are up against this year? While I agree that there are many districts out there who have misappropriated their funding, I strongly disagree that Fulton is one of them. I, sir or madam, am FEDUP with people who are as narrow minded as you!

    Phew, have a nice day!

  3. Pops:

    The board meets every other Tuesday at 7:30 pm, on the weeks opposite Fulton Common Council meetings. When budget committee meetings begin, they will be on the same Tuesdays as Council meetings.

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