By Michael Mell
The 2011/12 Garrison School budget was not on the agenda for the Jan. 19 board meeting but came up during the superintendent’s remarks. Superintendent Gloria Colucci informed that board that the administration continues to work on the budget. “We have rolled over the budget from the previous school year as a basis for the new budget” Colucci said, “but are not yet ready to make a presentation to the board.” The administration budget group is composed of Superintendent Colucci, Principal Stephanie Impellittiere, business manager Susan Huetter and maintenance director Dick Timmons.
The new budget will include funding for teachers’ professional development, per the terms of the recent contract, and summer school. Colucci told the board that a number of “unknowns,” such as possible reductions in state aid, state mandates, special education placements, interest rates, tuition (for high school students), transportation and use of the fund balance make preparation of this year’s budget difficult. The board listened to these remarks without comment.
These issues will, nonetheless, need to be addressed and accommodated if the board is to meet its advertized schedule of public workshops (the first scheduled for Feb. 9), the April 6 deadline for budget adoption and the May 17 budget vote. A schedule of budget meetings and workshops can be found here.
Thank you for covering part of our January 19 Board of Education meeting. No school district’s budget is ready for primetime at this point in the process, with the big unknowns of State aid and a possible property tax cap. We will certainly be addressing all the school budgeting issues that School Boards face between now and May 17. Garrison has a very long tradition of successfully passing school budgets. We want to hear input from all our neighbors and encourage all to attend our first Budget Workshop on February 9.