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Nanuet Schools Break Down the Budget

Tonight's budget workshop will look over Staffing and Instruction, BOCES and Special Education, Instructional Media and Pupil Services

 

The Nanuet School District has an estimated $4 million budget gap to close. With the budget review process in full swing, the Nanuet School Board went through part of the 2013-14 budget, line by line, at Monday night’s first budget workshop. They reviewed:

  • General Support
  • Buildings and Grounds
  • Transportation
  • Benefits
  • Revenue

This budget is attached to this Patch article as a PDF. Tuesday night’s budget workshop will start at 7:30 p.m. at Nanuet High School and they’ll review the following budget items:

  • Staffing and Instruction
  • BOCES and Special Education
  • Instructional Media and Pupil Services

On March 19, there will be a total budget review followed by a regular board meeting. Here are some notable changes in the budget that were discussed last night:

  • Teachers’ Retirement is at $4 million, up $946,871 from last year, which is about a 31 percent increase
  • Unemployment Insurance is at $90,000, down $30,000 from last year, which is a 25 percent drop.
  • NYS Employee Retirement is at $1,168,785, up $108,785, which is about a 10.3 percent increase.
  • Union Welfare Benefits are at 501800, up 61800, which is about a 14 percent increase.
  • Legal Office staff costs are at 201800, up $24,000, which is a 13.5 percent increase
  • Contract Transportation is at 1594769, down -173948, which is almost a 10 percent drop.
  • Hospital, medical and dental insurance is at $7443043, up 616549, which is a 9 percent increase.

Here’s a look at some of the budget lines that were discussed:

Operation of Plant (Line 1620) dropped by $172,557 because “gas and electric have decreased,” said Phil Sions, assistant superintendent for business. “We’re having a lot of luck with our bids and … the prices we’re getting. Most of the decrease is from utilities, we went down on maintenance projects and saved money on salary through attrition.”

Rudy Villanyi the Facilities Director for the Nanuet School District said that the school’s equipment has been holding up just fine. “We’ve been pretty good with replacing equipment over the last few years. Most of our equipment is in good shape.” On the topic of the Highview Playground, he added that the school needs to replenish the playground’s fill “at least once a year.”

Security Sions said that there was an increase in the hourly cost for the district’s security and part of the increase is also due to a move “toward a more efficient model of cameras.”

As for SROs (School resource officer), Board Member Charleen Caulk has stayed true to what she’s stated in past years.

“I don’t think (the cost of a SRO) should come out of the school budget,” said Caulk, adding that the police department should pay. she was the only one to vote against the agenda item approving the payment for an SRO.

“We’re only paying for a fraction of what it costs to have an SRO,” said Board Member Anne Byrne, adding that the relationships the SROs develop with students is important. “Kids are more comfortable (to tell a police officer something) in a situation they’re comfortable in. They’re not going to walk up to a police officer on the street and talk to them.”

Like in past board meetings, Caulk emphasized that she would like to know what the SRO’s specific duties are in the form of weekly or monthly reports.

Unallocated Insurance (Line 1910) increased $92,096.

Sions said that some of the increase was due to Hurricane Sandy and “extreme weather we’re going to see more” in the future.

District Transportation Services (Line 5510) increased by $27,596

“It’s an estimated increase. It’ll probably fall below that but we’re playing it safe,” said Sions.

5540 Contract Transportation decreased by $173,948

 “A lot of it is population, some of it is us piggybacking off other districts … .and become more efficient in sharing resources,” said Sions.

Transportation from BOCES (Line 5581) increased by $62,093

“So these kids voluntarily choose to go to private schools and we pay BOCES to bus them?” asked Board Member Ron Hansen, to which Byrne answered, “yes, because they’re a Nanuet resident. Problem is, there are very few people bidding,” so the district doesn’t always get a low competitive bussing bid.

She added an interesting alternative that was done many years ago.

“Years ago, a parent put in an extremely low bid. Her vehicle of course had to be outfitted to meet the requirements, but the money she got for the bid covered the cost of their child’s tuition” and it saved the district quite a bit of money.

9050 Unemployment Insurance decreased by $30,000

“A lot of people are off their rolls because they’re not eligible. They’re either on there too long or they found a job,” he said.

As for revenue, state aid decreased.

"We're not going to get more than $450 million statewide," said Byrne. "What I do think is, next year, the economy will be doing better and more school districts are going to be able to do better." Byrne said that quite a number of New York school districts will become insolvent come June this year.

Related Patch Articles:

March

February

  • $4M Gap In Draft 2013-14 Nanuet School Budget
  • McNeill Requests Tabling of Grade Reconfiguration

October 

  • 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
Watchdog March 12, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Looks like they discussed everything but the cost of pensions and medical, dental and other benefits which are in the millions and choose to discuss the $27,000 items. No way to solve this problem, unless you deal with the elephant in the room.....labor costs and benefits which are bringing down home values and will eventually bankrupt the School District. I am disturbed that Mr Hansen brought ip transportation costs for kids going to parochal schools which he knows saves more money than it costs. Fewer teachers Mr. Hanson....lower pensions and benefits....where the real costs are that you did not bring up.
Arthur Winoker March 12, 2013 at 01:29 PM
True about the pension and other benefit costs which are not sustainable and this should be recognized by both the school board and the administration. GM had the same problem and ultimately had to go bankrupt. NYS will not come to the rescue for its school districts which face insolvency.so we are just treading water with band aid solutions.when the real problems are not being solved.
Watchdog March 12, 2013 at 01:47 PM
Yes Mr. Winoker but it is really interesting that these items are not even touched by the Teachers, Administration or the Board. Blaming NYS has not got us anywhere. We know the problem. Do the Teachers, Board and Administration have any solution?
Scott Walters March 12, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Talk is cheap when the big items that need to be addressed are not addressd. Yes, there is room for small savings by doing a little of this and a little of that. The problem as properly stated by the above writers is simply that we are in an unsustainable model without large scale changes that at some point have to be made. No one who has run for school boad trustee, save for one candidate, has offered any kind of out of the box solution to help solve what has become a HUGE Issue. Nanuet may love their incumbents, but it is certainly time to have some of the entrenched board members move along and let fresh people with fresh ideas have a say, even if the rest of the board shooses not to implement them.
Scott Walters March 12, 2013 at 06:06 PM
chooses....I do not like a computer without a spellcheck mechanism...

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