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Five Fast Facts for School Budget Season
March 20, 2018
No time to keep up with school budget news? Scan these fast facts for a more informed conversation about your local school budget with family and friends.
- Foundation Aid is up, but equity still lags.
The executive proposal for the state budget calls for a $315,000 increase in Foundation Aid for Queensbury Union Free School District in 2018-19. Meanwhile, the district was underfunded by $35.7 million in total over the past decade while other districts were overfunded because the state never fully phased in its Foundation Aid Formula. Foundation Aid is the primary source of funding for everyday school operations, and it was originally intended to ensure more aid equity among schools.
- Building Aid is down.
Queensbury’s total state aid is projected to decrease by $1.3 million in 2018-19 largely due to a reduction in building aid reimbursements after the conclusion of the infrastructure capital project. District officials anticipated and are preparing for that loss, but a state proposal to cap the increase in expense-based aid payments could mean an unexpected loss in the building aid projected for the Legacy 2020 capital project (see p. 8). Building aid is money given to a school district for facilities work after the conclusion of a project, based on district-specific aid percentages.
- Proposed aid caps would increase the local tax burden.
The executive budget proposes to place a 2 percent cap on increases in certain expense-based aid reimbursements, beginning with payments in 2019-20. If enacted, a proposed cap on building aid would apply to statewide funding while caps for transportation and BOCES aid would apply to district-level spending. These caps shift the state’s financial responsibilities to local taxpayers. In the case of building aid, the proposed cap also would make financial projections inaccurate for current capital projects and unpredictable for future projects. District leaders have joined school officials across the region in advocating against these proposed aid caps.
- Each vote matters, now more than ever.
Voter turnout in Queensbury increased by 6.5 percent from May 2016 to May 2017, but otherwise, it has generally followed the statewide trend of declining turnout. Since implementation of the school tax levy cap in 2012, the total number of voters participating in annual school budget votes has declined by 30 percent across New York state and by 35 percent in Queensbury.
- It’s easy to stay informed about the budget.
The Queensbury Board of Education is working to develop its 2018-19 school budget proposal. For the latest school budget news, visit the budget web page or attend an upcoming board meeting or budget workshop. The Board of Education holds its next budget workshop on Monday, March 26, at 7 p.m. in the District Office, 429 Aviation Rd.