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Watch a replay of the entire community conversation by clicking "Play" on the video above. The replay will also air on Channel 16 on Mondays and Fridays at 3 p.m., Thursdays at 12 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m.

Community reviews and discusses list of potential changes for 2015-16

Feb. 5, 2015—On Wednesday, February 4, Guilderland Central School District hosted a community conversation to take a closer look at the district’s budget development process to date and review a list of all potential changes to the district’s spending plan under consideration for 2015-16. The event was held at Guilderland High School and was attended by more than 30 community members.

The community conversation began with an overview of the current conditions shaping the budget and programmatic changes under consideration. View the PowerPoint presentation (PDF) Guilderland is facing an estimated $130,000 budget gap heading into the upcoming  school year, made even more challenging by the lack of clarity regarding state aid for the upcoming school year.

In his Executive Budget Proposal released last month, Governor Cuomo proposed an increase in school aid of $1.1 billion statewide, contingent upon the implementation of an extensive list of reforms. In the absence of those reforms, aid will remain flat for 2015-16 and 2016-17. In addition, information regarding state aid "runs" has not been released to districts--leaving schools with little information about the specific distribution of any potential aid in the upcoming school year. There was also no mention of eliminating or reducing the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) in the Executive Proposal. With these factors in mind, the Guilderland roll-over budget presumes no additional foundation aid and the continuation of the GEA at the 2014-15 level.

To help close the district's projected budget gap, leaders of each school building and program, both instructional and non-instructional, were asked to anticipate their program needs for next year and recommend reductions equaling two percent of their total program budget. Leaders reviewed enrollment, assessed student needs data (IEPs, assessment results, etc.), and consider external factors (costs for utilities , health, pension, etc.) to guide their thinking. District office leaders then reviewed the recommendations and prioritized the potential changes.

The results of that work were divided into four "topic" categories and presented during the community conversation event along with detailed rationale and impact sheets to provide additional background information on each potential change. View the handouts by clicking on any link below:

Elementary and Special Education (PDF)

Middle Level Instruction, ESL/World Languages, and Technology (PDF)

High School Instruction, Athletics, Physical Education, Art, and Music (PDF)

Transportation, Maintenance, Central Administration, and Voter Proposition (PDF)

 

Also included in the materials were several potential additions to the district budget in 2015-16, including additional ESL staffing to meet new state mandates and a voter proposition to renovate the GHS auditorium and replace light poles and lights on the athletic field.

For more than an hour, participants worked in small groups to review the list of potential changes and discussed their questions, comments and concerns with both their peers and school leaders. Read a summary of the small group discussions (PDF) The evening closed with a brief "town hall" style reporting out session, where community members had the chance to share their questions, comments, or concerns with the larger audience.

Looking ahead, district leaders will review the compiled feedback from the community conversation event in preparation for the release of the Superintendent’s Budget on Thursday, March 5, 2015. If you were unable to attend the event on Feb. 4 but would like to submit your questions, comments, or concerns related to the list of potential changes, please complete our online Budget Feedback Form.

 

 

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