Superintendent Mark McNeill addressed a packed room of more than 100 people on the current school budget plans.
“Last October, I presented a strategy for investigation, which included a grade configuration that moved fifth grade to Highview and third grade over to Miller,” said McNeill.
Back in October, the grade reconfiguration was considered because it brought an estimated cost savings of $800,000 to the district. Read more about the reconfiguration in this Patch article.
Check back with Patch later for more articles on this meeting
“The whole idea of grade reconfiguration as not an issue I could raise in February because there are too many variables involved and the time is needed,” said McNeill, He explained why he brought the reconfiguration issue to the board in October. It was to have enough time to investigate:
- potential transportaion savings by changing building schedules
- savings through staff reductions
- savings through additional cuts
- amount of reserves required to meet all necessary expenses
Since October, the district has:
- Looked at staffing
- Looked at the transportation program
- Looked at other areas for cuts that do not negatively impact class sizes or programs
- Considered the fact that under the tax levy limit, once something has been removed from the budget, it will be nearly impossible to restore it at a later date
- Met with legislators for exclusions: No reduction when retiring bonds for capitol improvements; allow tax certiorari judgetments as an exclusion; No reduction for PILOTS such as the Shops at Nanuet
- Reconfiguration remains an option for the future
“We looked at the transportation program. I can tell you that I don’t see the savings that was anticipated. We’re going to bring in a transportation consultant. We have to be careful with transportation. We have been successful with the companies that we work with. One year we went out for a bid and we got a company that did not serve the district very well so we went back to the company that we have now. We pay at a rate that’s more favorable than other districts in the county."
In regards to the bolded bullet point above, McNeill said that “with respect to grade reconfiguration, that’s a very significant decision to make given the fact that it could be permanent. Right now enrollment is where the grades are coming in at 165 (students) and the larger grades of 195. It’ll be interesting to see the trend of the district."
“They (the elected officials) are very much in favor of the dynamics that are affecting Nanuet,” he said. “they’re behind bills and legislation to create exclusions.” The district has been talking to Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Senator David Carlucci and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski.
"I do believe that there are savings, but I’m not going to make that irrevocable decision now. I think we need to wait. I’d like to investigate more in terms of transportation in particular," he said. Because of the need to further investigate the full impact of reconfiguration, McNeill recommended that the board table the issue for the 2013-14 budget.
Upcoming Budget Workshops include:
- March 11—General support, buildings and grounds, transportation, benefits and revenue
- March 12—Staffing and instruction
- March 19—Total Budget Review (followed by a regular board meeting)
Related Patch Articles:
- Future Nanuet School Budget: "Going to be Survival"
- Nanuet School Budget: Possible Depletion of Reserves
- Superintendent McNeill Explains Proposed Changes
- Nanuet School Budget: Breaking Down the Numbers
- Nanuet Schools 2013-14 Budget: $3.5M Budget Gap
- Nanuet School Board: Federal Call to Action