Clifton Park

Shen budget saves money on benefits, retirements

School also plans to replace 23 buses
The first day of school at Shenendehowa High School in 2016.
The first day of school at Shenendehowa High School in 2016.

CLIFTON PARK — The Shenendehowa Board of Education has approved a $173 million budget for the 2018-19 school year, a 2.1 percent increase from the current year’s budget.

Total spending is $173,682,956, with an estimated tax levy impact of 2.9 percent. That is within the state-mandated tax cap for the district.

Residents of a typical Clifton Park home are expected to see an increase of about $54 in their tax bills. The board approved the budget at its April 10 meeting.
Last year’s budget totaled $169,957,065. 

For the 2018-19 school year, Shen is projected to receive $47,207,010 in funding from the state, a slight increase from last year.

When District Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson first presented the budget to the board of education, the amount of state aid Shen would receive was unknown. The New York State Legislature had not yet finalized the state budget.

A large chunk of Shen’s budget goes to paying salaries, with 54 percent of the funds spread over instructional salaries, administration salaries, and non-instructional salaries.

But the district will also have a chance to save money during the upcoming school year, as 14 teachers plan to retire.

Kathy Wetmore-Chase, assistant superintendent of finance, noted that the 2018-19 budget saw a cost reduction in benefits of just over $1 million, as employees switched to lower-cost insurance plans.

Shen will also monitor elective enrollment at the high school to see whether certain classes need to be eliminated, Wetmore-Chase said. 

Shen will also pay $42,000 for summer school bus transportation.

District residents will vote on the budget on May 15. Also on that ballot will be a bus replacement proposition. 

The district, which has 206 buses, will seek approval to replace 23 of them next year, at a cost not to exceed $2.38 million. 

There will be a public hearing on the budget on May 8 at the board of education meeting. Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on May 15, and residents can vote at the Gowana Middle School gymnasium. 

Qualified voters must be at least 18 years old, U.S. citizens, and residents of the Shenendehowa district for at least 30 days prior to the vote. Shen has estimated there are around 50,000 to 55,000 qualified voters in the district.

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