Budget 2012-13

May 16 Canvass and Special Meetings

On May 16 the Newburgh School District BOE met at 6:30PM to approve the canvass of votes. Here is a copy of the results that were approved. This tally includes absentee ballots and lists the names of write-in candidates. Board President Fucheck mentioned that the non-incumbent candidate with the most votes, Mr. Lawson, would be sworn in early, to fill the vacancy left by Board Member Giudice's resignation. That may happen at the May regular BOE meeting.

The Canvass of Votes was followed by a Special Meeting at 6:45 PM. At that meeting two employees (presumably tenured teachers) were suspended pending "3020A" proceedings--one with pay, one without. Video of the very short public parts of the meeting is available.

2012 Public hearing on budget video available

The public hearing on the 2012-2013 Newburgh School District Budget was on Tuesday May 1. Video of the hearing is available here.

The Board of Education is required by law to do certain things at this public hearing. Among the requirements:

The budget must be written in plain language. Categories of revenues, expenditures and fund balance information, as well as comparison data from the prior year's budget must be set forth in such a manner as to best promote comprehension and readability.

Boards of education must attach to the proposed budget the salaries, benefits and any in-kind or other form of compensation of the superintendent, assistant or associate superintendent and any administrator who will earn over $118,000 in the upcoming year.

Please be aware that the "Full Budget Report" has been revised. At the official budget info webpage it says:

At the public hearing of the budget held May 1, 2012, there were many speakers pointing out that the supplies lines for athletics were not reduced as originally approved by the Board of Education. Following the meeting, an in depth analysis of all the BOE approved changes to the budget was conducted to ensure that all the appropriate lines were adjusted as proved. This analysis showed that not only were the athletic supply lines not changed, but several other supply lines for Science, Social Studies, Math, ESL and Bilingual were also not changed. The reductions instead were charged against the health insurance budget. This error has been since corrected and the revised budget line is now posted to this site. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Here's a link to the revised report and a link to the old one. It looks like the Medical Insurance line increased by around $49K.

2012-2013 Budget document

The 2012-2013 account line budget document is available on the NECSD website. It's on the 2012-2013 budget information page. It's the link labeled 2012-2013 Full Budget Presentaion Report.

Here are the account lines which will increase more than 100k.

Budget acct Desc 12-13 proposed 11-12 adopted $ change % change
1621-16-26-26 Grounds Salaries 1,217,396 1,052,454 164,942 15.67%
2020-150-26-26 Principals Salaries 4,712,021 4,350,734 361,287 8.3%
2110-120-26-26 Teacher Salaries 1-6 31,730,756 29,653,529 2,077,227 7.00%
2110-130-26-26 Teacher Salaries 7-12 28,247,514 27,436,331 811,183 2.96%
2250-151-26-26 Special Ed Teacher Salari 10,585,473 10,373,051 212,422 2.05%
9010-800-04-99 State Employee Retirement 3,249,187 1,864,862 1,384,325 74.23%
9020-800-04-99 Teacher Retirement 11,445,531 8,902,961 2,542,570 28.56%
9060-800-04-99 Medical Insurance 32,820,640 27,847,899 4,972,741 17.86%
9089-801-04-99 District Retirement-TRS 1,092,208 712,430 379,778 53.31%
9901-950-04-99 Transfers To Special Aid 1,879,561 1,405,095 474,466 33.77%
9901-960-04-99 Transfer To Debt Service 10,266,820 6,900,000 3,366,820 48.79%

The "Public Hearing on the Budget" is Tuesday May 1 at 7PM at the Newburgh Free Library auditorium. The NECSD BOE does not provide information about what occurs at a "Public Hearing on the Budget". However in past years, there has been a brief presentation followed by an opportunity for the public to ask questions. Unlike regular meetings, the questions are often answered.

Newburgh BOE Meeting April 24, 2012

The April regular BOE meeting was on Tuesday at the NFA main campus auditorium. There was an audience of around 55. The agenda items were covered routinely. There were a half dozen or so public comments on specific budget cuts: Crew Team, Social Workers, and the Science Specialist reduction.

Click through for a few notes from the April BOE meeting.

Click here for Video of the April 24, 2012 NECSD BOE meeting.

April 18, 2012 meeting videos available

Click through for videos of the April 18, 2012 Newburgh School District Board of Education Budget Workshop meeting and the Special and Workshop meetings which followed.

Bullet points April 18 NECSD meetings

The Newburgh School District Board of Education had a budget meeting, special meeting, and workshop meeting yesterday at NFA. At the 6PM budget workshop meeting there were a few restorals to the budget due to an expected increase in State aid. Restored items:

  • 17 kindergarten teaching assistant positions
  • 2 science specialist positions
  • Director of Fine and Performing Arts position
  • 2 music teachers (this restores instrumental music at the fourth grade level)

At the special meeting at 7PM the school district budget, library budget, school lunch fund, and property tax report card were approved. The revised budget amount for the property tax report card is $228,476,702.

The monthly workshop meeting was quite routine.

After an executive session two resolutions were passed. One ammended a prior resolution authorizing legal action against the Palumbo group "to include litigation to recover the moneys paid by the school district". The second appointed Kenneth Swanson "to serve as the district's authorized resolution session representative" for the 2011-12 school year. This has to do with special education hearings.

Video and handouts--hopefully will have those available tomorrow.

One more budget workshop

A Budget Workshop meeting has been scheduled for this evening, April 18, at 6PM at the NFA auditorium. This is to be followed by a Special Meeting at 7PM, at which the BOE is expected to approve a budget. The special meeting will probably be very short, and will be followed by a regular monthly BOE Workshop meeting.

The late addition is on the NECSD meetings page. No agendas on the agendas page.

2012-13 Budget Workshop meeting four video

Video of yesterday's budget workshop meeting is available on YouTube.

2012-13 Budget Workshop meeting four

There was a Budget Workshop meeting of the Newburgh School District Board of Education on Tuesday March 29, 2012. The meeting was held at Temple Hill Academy. There were probably over 200 in the audience. The meeting began with a presentation by David Little, who works for NYSSBA. His presentation was quite good.

Board President Fucheck summarized the reductions to date: Administration--including Directors--reduced by 10.53%, Teaching--including Teaching Assistants 6.74%, all other support staff 8.41%, all supply lines reduced by 20%, total equipment lines by 10%. She went on to say that: the unions have been asked to consider a change in insurance companies which could save nearly $2 million; central office senior staff has voluntarily agreed to a wage freeze for the 2012-[presumably 2013, Fucheck misspoke here] school year; there is an expected restoration of 1.13 million from NYS; and from Assemblyman Skartados an additional 250k.

The following were items were raised for discussion or approved by consensus:

  • School Lunch fund: request for a slight increase in meal prices. "The fund balance accumulated over the years is anticipated to cover the loss of the operating schools' cafeterias." [???] No information was provided about what is to change or the impact on the budget. The lunch fund will be brought forward as a resolution on April 14.
  • Newburgh Free Library budget. Sounds like it would go up the allowed percentage: 2.94%.
  • Instrumental Music program to begin at grade five. This will result in a loss of 2 FTEs. Reduction in budget of $171,339.
  • No longer offer an accelerated program at grade 6 level. Instead a grade 6 Honors program will be developed at Heritage, South, and the Hill Schools. Reduction of $83,165.
  • Community Resource Officer to be funded by grants instead of General Fund. Reduction of $100,000.
  • Shifting of expenses to grant sources. Costs for instructional coaches to be shifted to grants. Reduction in General Fund budget: $496,033.
  • Reduction in freshman sports. This would allow modified sports to go back. Savings: $54,900.
  • Portion of Health Insurance, Workers Comp, Tax Certiorari, and Unemployment costs to be covered by allocation from the "Employee Benefits and Accrued Liabilities Reserve Fund". The State is allowing the more flexible use of this Reserve Fund. Savings of $2,255,861.

The next budget workshop meeting is Wednesday April 18 at 7PM. There will be a Special Meeting to adopt the budget for the School District and the Library, to be followed by the board workshop.

The budget gap is closed. There is a net reduction of 128.5 positions. The board anticipates being able to restore 1.3 million in cut items.

Video will be available tomorrow morning.

Newburgh BOE Meeting March 27, 2012

The March regular BOE meeting was on Tuesday at the NFA main campus auditorium. There was an audience of perhaps 700 or so. The agenda items were covered very quickly. There were around a dozen public comments on budget topics. Public comment was limited to one hour, and the main topics were: Foreign language and music, Music programs, Teaching Assistants (4), Psychologists, Crew (5), Attendance personnel.

Click through for the March BOE meeting notes.

Click here for Video of the March 27, 2012 NECSD BOE meeting.

March 22 budget meeting handout and video

The handout that was made available at the beginning of the March 22 budget workshop is available here.

The handout summarizes the cuts and changes approved at the March 5 and March 15 meetings, and also the items that were discussed March 22. The only significant item that was not approved at the March 22 meeting was "Music - Elimination of Instrumental programs at elementary".

Video of the meeting is also available.

2012-13 Budget Workshop meeting three

The Newburgh School District BOE met Tuesday evening, March 22. A brief Special meeting was followed by a Budget Workshop. The purpose of the Special meeting at 5:45 was for the BOE to vote to commence legal action against the Palombo group.
Budget recommendations approved at the Budget Workshop included:

  • Eliminate Crew team
  • Add back 2 Art positions at Middle schools
  • Reduce Social Workers (-4 positions)
  • Shift Special Education students to in-district placment (+28 positions, but still results in some savings)
  • Reduce Elementary Teaching Assistants (-21 positions)
  • Reduce Violence prevention coordinator (-1 position, currently vacant)
  • Reduce Elementary Security Guards (-7 positions)

The proposal to eliminate elementary instrumental music (-6 positions) was "bubbled" for further consideration.

Special meeting before the budget meeting

Per the NECSD Clerk of the Board:

A Special Meeting of the Board of Education has been scheduled for Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm in the Newburgh Free Academy Main Campus Auditorium, 201 Fullerton Avenue, Newburgh, NY.

The Budget Workshop Meeting scheduled for 6:00 p.m. will follow the Special Meeting.

March 15, 2012 Budget meeting video available

Video of the March 15, 2012 Newburgh School District Board of Education Budget Workshop meeting is up: embedded player or at YouTube. Sorry about the video quality. Most of the audio is clear enough to follow the procedings.

2012-13 Budget Workshop meeting two

2012-13 Budget Workshop meeting two

There was a Budget Workshop meeting of the Newburgh School District Board of Education on Monday March 15, 2012. The meeting was held in the NFA Auditorium. There were probably over 300 in the audience. There was noticeable attendance by Teaching Assistants and the Crew Team.

The following budget cuts/changes were approved:

  • Reduce teachers on special assignment by 8.
  • Reduce 20 (of 61) Teaching Assistant positions. These are the first grade positions.
  • Eliminate a telephone operator position at NFA.
  • Eliminate a transition specialist position.
  • Reduce 2 physical education positions at NFA.
  • Eliminate 1 photography position at NFA.
  • Reduce one Assistant Principal [via retirement].
  • Lease West Street School to BOCES -- reduce 1.5 positions.
  • Schedule J reductions.
  • Adjust Curriculum and Instruction changes: restore 3 directors; reduce 5 teachers on special assignment

The following items were not decided ("bubbled")

  • Reduce 40 (of 61) Teaching Assistant positions. Kindergarten assistants.
  • Eliminate instrumental music programs at elementary level. 6 positions.
  • Eliminate a violence prevention coordinator position [currently vacant?].

Cutting the Crew team budget was rejected by the Board.

The budget gap stands at $5.8 million. The next Budget Workshop meeting will be Thursday March 22 at 6PM.

Click through for additional notes.

Please do let me know if any corrections are needed to the notes.

March 5, 2012 Budget meeting video available

Video of the March 5, 2012 Newburgh School District Board of Education Budget Workshop meeting is up: embedded player or at YouTube.

2012-13 Budget Workshop meeting one

There was a brief Special meeting and a lengthy Budget Workshop meeting of the Newburgh School District Board of Education on Monday March 5, 2012.

The bullet points...

  • Maxine Nodel was appointed Executive High School Principal effective July 1.

The following budget cuts were approved:

  • Reduce 10 one-on-one special ed teaching aides and 20 special ed related teaching assistants.
  • Cut ski team and ice hockey team.
  • Reduce 7 attendance aides.
  • Reduce 5 buildings and grounds positions.
  • Eliminate shuttle buses between campuses.
  • Reduce 8 typist positions.
  • Reduce 7 curriculum directors.
  • Reduce 11 secondary teachers.
  • Reduce 6 elementary teachers.
  • Eliminate van drop off to Children's Corner Daycare.
  • Eliminate Executive Director for Special Education position.
  • Reduce field trips.
  • Eliminate one guidance counselor position.
  • Switch Homeless Liaison position to CSEA.
  • Reduce Pre-K testing staff by 3.5 fte.
  • Reduce Security by 3 fte.
  • Reduce 2 Psychologist positions.

Click through for more detailed notes.
Video will be up later on Tuesday.

Newburgh Schools Finance Committee Feb 16

On Thursday February 16 there was a meeting of the Newburgh School District Finance committee. The meeting was held in the auditorium and began with a presentation by Assistant Superintendent of Finance Pacella. In addition to the committee there was an audience of about twenty--mostly staff, plus a few current and former BOE members.

Pacella presented an overview of the budget process and the effects of the new tax cap law. He said budgets can exceed the cap if approved by a vote of over 60%; but on the other hand if a budget does not get 50% approval then the tax levy cannot exceed the previous year's.

Pacella presented the state formula for the tax cap. Current tax levy is 97,554,000. After all adjustments the allowable levy is 100,133,000. This represents about a 2.6% increase in the tax levy. If state aid stays the same the net effect on the budget is a 1.7% increase.

Looking at aid, the net effect of expected state and federal changes (after factoring out state building aid) is a decrease of 2.5M.

Pacella next looked at rolling forward the current budget. By including pension, contractual obligations, etc, with no cuts or reductions, a tentative budget for next year is 240,800,000. Subtracting local revenue (utility tax, tuition, 2M anticipated use of fund balance--basically all revenue sources other than aid and property tax), and anticipated aid: the taxes needed to support the current budget rolled forward is 113,000,000. So if we intend to hold to the limit under the tax cap, we're starting with a budget gap of 13.7 million dollars.

Major increases to the budget:

  • Employees retirement contribution went up to 18.5%.
  • Teachers retirement contribution went up 3.1 million.
  • Medical insurance expected to go up nearly 6 million.
  • Debt service up 3.3 million.
  • Salaries up 6.1 million. Pacella said this was not because of raises. He said that those on a step (e.g. all NTA) advance a step automatically every year. [To most people an increase in salary from one year to another is called "a raise".] Pacella also said that the step increases for CSEA amounts to 1.4% and NTA amounts to almost 2% increase. [It's possible that in some kind of aggregate the effect of NTA step increases is 2% but the percentage increase for most steps is greater than 2%.]

Next steps. Not possible to produce a preliminary budget without affecting programs and eliminating positions (the major increases in expense are all staff related). The superintendent will deliver a budget to the Board. It's not likely it will be under the cap. At budget workshops there will be further discussions. Budget vote is May 15.

In 2010-11 there was a 6.1 million reduction and reduction of 27 positions. In 2011-12, 17.8 million reduction, another 139 positions.

Adopting a budget over the cap requires specific language on the ballot. In the past the vote was on the budget, this year it will be on the tax levy. There's also an option to put specific programs on the ballot. This would require the same language about exceeding the cap.

In the past it was possible for the contingent budget (adopted if the budget does not pass--after an optional second vote) to result in a substantial increase in the levy. Under the new law the contingent budget cannot result in a tax increase. If the budget does not pass an additional 2.5 million would need to be cut.

The PowerPoint from the presentation will be available from the district website.

There were only a couple of questions. Art Plichta asked if student transportation could be one of the items put up for separate vote. Pacella said that some mileage limits could be changed via policy change, but there are state requirements.

Superintendent Pizzo said that budget meeting dates would probably be settled at Tuesday's BOE workshop meeting.

Board member Levinstein asked if the state aid numbers were "set in stone" at this point. Pacella and Pizzo both explained that for planning purposes the best assumption is to work from those numbers-the Governor's budget. It's possible that the NYS legislature can make changes. April 1 is the adoption deadline for the state. Typically the district has a budget proposal by the end of March.

The finance committee then went to executive session "to discuss employment history of particular individuals and propose acquisition, sale, or lease of real property, securities only when publicity can substantially affect he value thereof. The Board will not be taking action after the executive session."

The meeting lasted less than twenty five minutes.

Newburgh Schools Finance Committee Thursday Jan 19

Thursday January 19, 2012 there was a meeting of the Newburgh School District BOE Finance committee at 5:30 PM.

In attendance were BOE members Lewis, Levinstein, Woodhull, Vesely, Board President Fucheck, Assistant Superintendent of Finance Pacella, Superintendent of Schools Pizzo, and School Business Manager Lastowski. In the audience were Board Member McAfee, Administrative Intern Ramjug, and I.

There were seven bullet points on the agenda

  • Extra Earnings through 1/6/2012
  • Home Teaching costs through 1/6/2012
  • Twilight costs through 1/6/2012
  • Progressive Academy breakdown
  • Special Education Student Placements
  • Teacher Aides and Assistants Breakdown
  • Federal and State Aid for 2012/2013

1. Extra Earnings through 1/6/2012

Pacella handed out this and several other reports to Board members. They reviewed this while waiting for the meeting to assemble. The board expressed concern about the amounts indicated for some individuals and also for the grand total on this report. Pacella explained that the report included sick day buyouts, retirement incentives, overtime hours, part-time hours (such as after school programs, security, police costs), all stipends ("Schedule J" which includes sports coaches, musical group leaders, class and group advisors, etc.). The report did not include subs (which Pacella said amounted to around $2.2 million last year).

2. Home Teaching costs through 1/6/2012

Through Jan 6 the total was $280,000--not necessarily suspended children, also included special education kids awaiting placement. Pacella said he didn't have the information to break it down by categories.

3. Twilight costs through 1/6/2012

Included a homework assistance program at the middle schools. NFA to date has spent $30,000. Pacella said the Principals there are focusing on alternatives to the twilight program. Report didn't include administrative costs--that would be an additional budget code.

4. Progressive Academy breakdown

Pacella said that Dr. Noriega provided this. This was past summer and the summer before. Total for the program was $24,000. "Projected student enrollment" was noted to be 60. Board members questioned what the actual enrollment was.

5. Special Education Student Placements in out-of-district and parentally placed locations

There are 267. 126 are going to six different BOCES locations (Southern Westchester 1, Rockland 7, Putnam 6, Duchess 10, Ulster 6, Orange-Ulster 96). 77 kids in day schools--Pacella mentioned transportation is a significant expense. 14 in residential. In response to a question Pacella said that parents can place students in any parochial; placement in residential or day school is through a CSE.

Fucheck said that there might be options for some of these students to apply for St. Christophers, which just opened recently. Pizzo mentioned that St. Christophers will be grade 7 to 12. The district submits costs to the State through a STAC process. Pacella said that an area where the real cost to the district is significant is the in-district placement with required ratios of teachers and assistants: 1-6-4, 1-8-1, 1-8-4, 1-12-1, 1-15-2. He said that you can't exceed the ratio even if attendance of students in the class means the ratio in the classroom is very different than the ration on paper. [Apparently the BOE made some decision along these lines in the past.]

6. Teacher Aides and Assistants Breakdown

Pacella said the report was broken down by school, included pre-K teaching assistants, K and first grade assistants, some could be in health office as aides or assigned in library. Special Ed could be an aide or an assistant. For a disability that required additional instruction--that would be an assistant. There are 156 assistants, and 49 aides. Pacella said total cost was not on report; for budgeting purposes an average cost is used--for an assistant 55k, for an aide 50k. That would be "total package" salary, benefits, health. Salary is on the order of 22k to 37k. Assistants are part of TRS, probably going to 12.5% and Aides are on the ERS, probably going to 16%. A 1% increase in the TRS costs the district about a million. [TRS and ERS are state pension systems.]

7. Federal and State Aid for 2012/2013

Pacella said that the Record report of 1.23% increase for Newburgh is not accurate. He said if you look at the Newburgh aid run from NYS it may appear that aid went up $7million--but you need to back out the building aid. There was a change in the building aid due to refinancing of some bonds. Taking that out, the change is only $483,000. Another change for next year: Federal jobs money (around $3million) will not be present this year. So the net effect of Federal and State Aid is expected to be a decrease of $2.6 million. It is possible the district may see more than that when it goes through the STAC process.

Pacella said that Fucheck called David Little of NYSSBA and asked him to come to the next school board meeting. Pacella and Fucheck had heard Mr. Little make a presentation about budget matters recently.

Pizzo: he will come to the January 31st regular board meeting to present his views.

Pacella: he's actually a lobbyist for NYSSBA who has lobbied hard that this [presumably tax cap and/or Governor's budget proposal] not be implemented. Cannot get the budget within this amount without severe cuts in programs.

Fucheck: get the word out that Mr. Little is coming to speak about the state budget and what it is causing in districts.

Pacella recommended letting the community build the budget. He mentioned an initial estimate that about $15 million in cuts is needed. Can't cut this without causing a huge problem. Colleagues [other finance directors] are talking about half day kindergarten, closing kindergarten, closing more schools. Running Kindergarten [in NECSD] runs around $8 million. The cost for pre-K is just about $200,000.

[Some discussion about planned spending of fund balance to offset tax levy. The NECSD fund balance has been depleted over the past couple of years.]

Fucheck: The governor and the legislatures have put school districts in a position where they are jeopardizing a constitutional right for a sound and basic free public education.

[Discussion of the required language on ballot for a budget over the 2% amount. There was consensus that the required language would make it difficult to pass.]

Pacella: if the budget is defeated, instead of a contingency budget with a significant CPI increase [as in past years], the tax levy cannot be increased over prior year amount.

Pacella: for the next finance meeting I'll come up with a list of all the items bubbled in the past and non-mandated items. Maybe start with the mandated budget and add items back in.

Pacella mentioned the idea of adding items on the ballot as separate proposals. Kindergarten, a school, or athletics might be presented as a separate item. The public could then approve the budget (at close to the 2% cap), and optionally approve other items.

[There was discussion about a recent tussle at a Newburgh Kingston girls' basketball game.]

Lewis requested a report of teacher absences for the current school year. He was keen to review this.

Levinstein requested a finer detailed Excess Earnings report that would differentiate overtime v. sick day buyback, etc. Pacella said it would be difficult to do this because it may not be easy to tally the data by those types of categories.

[There was discussion about videotaping the NYSSBA person's presentation and making it available on the district website.]