Superintendent's Message: 2013-2014 Budget Proposal
On April 16, the Binghamton City School District Board of Education approved a 2013-14 budget proposal totaling $102,174,627. This represents a tax levy increase of 1.89% over the current fiscal year.
Crafting this budget was especially difficult this year. With Foundation Aid decreasing $21M since 2008, revenues are not keeping pace with expenditures. Mandated costs in special education, implementation of the common core standards and the new educator evaluation plans have resulted in additional expenditures. Retirement fund contributions and health care benefits alone have increased 37%.
The proposed budget includes the elimination of 54.9 positions. Reductions in personnel were necessary in order to contain increasing costs that compound over time. For example, a reduction of approximately $400,000 in personnel will equate to a $1.2 million dollar projected savings in 5 years.
After much discussion, there were reductions of services and programs in lieu of eliminating programs in the areas of athletics, fine arts, world languages at the elementary schools, contracted services, overtime and other building-level expenses. Ultimately, we believe this budget reflects our board’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and to maintaining our tradition of offering high-quality educational opportunities to every student.
I invite you to attend our budget hearing on May 7 at 7 p.m. in the 3rd floor community room at the Columbus School, 164 Hawley Street, Binghamton. Members of the board and administration will be available at that time to provide more detailed information, answer questions, and hear your thoughts.
The statewide date for voting on school budgets is May 21, 2013. In addition to voting on the budget, residents in our district will also fill two positions on our Board of Education. A Board Candidate Forum sponsored by PTA Council is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on May 6 at Roosevelt Elementary School, 9 Ogden Street, so residents can acquaint themselves with the candidates.
I encourage you to visit this link (click here) where you will find an array of information about our budget proposal, polling locations, answers to frequently asked questions and more. If you have questions that have not been addressed, please contact my office at 607-762-8100 x 318.
Marion H. Martinez, Ed.D.
A special notice to parents and guardians of students in grades 5-12 who received a letter from the district about the federally funded project called SHARE (Safe Healthy Attitudes Require Education): You have until May 20 to submit a refusal form if they do not wish to have their child(ren) participate in the survey.