At the Dec. 6 board of education meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Business Neil Sanders gave a presentation about the rollover budget for the 2023-24 school year. This presentation is the first of several budget presentations to the board and is typically conducted early in the budget development process for the Guilderland Central School District.
What is a rollover budget?
The Dec. 6 presentation highlighted the rollover budget, which gives the district a preliminary estimate of the expenditures and revenues for the next school year’s budget. Over the course of several months, the district refines those estimates as it gathers more information about state aid on the revenue side and actual costs of needed staff, supplies, materials, etc., on the expenditure side. The first draft of the actual budget is released in March then further refined until it is adopted by the board in April. A review of the rollover budget is a first step in this process.
The rollover budget is built upon the following:
- the assumption that all current staffing and programs will carry forward into the new school year;
- revenues and expenses are projected into the new year using known data or what can be reasonably anticipated based on available information, such as historical data, financial trends or information from outside entities
Key factors in budget development
There are several factors GCSD takes into consideration when developing a school year budget, including the following.
NYS Foundation Aid funding commitment
Foundation Aid is one of the two major types of state aid in New York. Foundation Aid fulfills a mandate that NYS provide adequate yearly funding to ensure every child receives a “sound basic education.” Foundation Aid can be used for operations, salaries and programming. The second kind of aid is expense-based aid, which includes reimbursements for expenses in specific areas, such as transportation, capital construction projects, etc.
Recently, New York state reaffirmed its commitment to fully fund Foundation Aid due to schools. GCSD anticipates it will receive an additional $5.1 million for the 2023-2024 school year. This amount is subject to the full legislative approval process.
Investment earnings can be a critical part of the budget development process; since interest rates are high, investments are earning more. Compared to the current year budget, the district expects $229,000 in additional interest earnings.
Retirement system contributions
Every November, the NYS Teachers’ Retirement System and the NYS Employees’ Retirement System provide estimates to each school district of the estimated contribution rates districts will be required to pay for the following year. Overall, contribution rates are projected to drop due to increased state pension investment earnings, which may result in some moderate savings in pension obligations.
GCSD is a member of an area school district health insurance consortium of 21 districts that has leveraged their combined populations to secure favorable and stable health insurance rates over many years. However, health insurance rates are trending significantly higher than the past two years, both locally and nationally, as a result of individuals delaying routine diagnostic procedures, health exams and treatment due to the pandemic. Health care costs have risen due to the later detection of illnesses and extensive treatment required for more serious and advanced illnesses and diseases.
Bond debt payments
Bond debt payments factor significantly into the budget. Guilderland will have new bond debt payments in the upcoming budget that are associated with our recent capital construction projects and tax certiorari claims. Approximately 65% of the bond payment expenses are offset by state aid reimbursement.
Inflation/cost of goods and services
Inflation is a general increase in the price of goods and services in the economy, resulting in a decrease in the purchasing power of money. Just as individuals are impacted by inflation when purchasing goods and services, the same holds true for the district. While inflation is historically high now, economic analysts project it to drop to approximately 2.5% over the 2023-24 school year.
What comes next
Administrative budget planning meetings
GCSD administrators and supervisors will meet with district office leaders to share their recommendations for items to be included in the 2023-2024 budget. These recommendations are based on their analysis of student needs and other operational considerations. These meetings provide an opportunity to consider what adjustments need to be made for the 2023-2024 school year. The goal is to ensure that the proposed budget meets the needs of students and is as effective and efficient as possible.
Recently the district ran a ThoughtExchange to gather feedback from the Guilderland school community. Those who were unable to participate, as well as all others, are welcome and encouraged to provide their input through public comment at board of education meetings. This valuable perspective helps district leaders know where and how the community believes resources should be directed.
NYS executive budget proposal (Jan. 2023)
The governor’s executive budget proposal will give GCSD more certain information about Foundation Aid and other aid categories, to inform the ongoing development of the spending plan.
Superintendent’s draft budget proposal will be shared March 7, 2023
Once the governor’s proposed budget is released, GCSD administrators will refine their recommendations that will result in a draft budget, which Dr. Wiles will present at the Mar. 7, 2023 board of education meeting. This draft budget is subject to revision but will provide the board of education members with a document to work from before adopting a final budget at the April 4, 2023 meeting.
Important upcoming dates
March 7, 2023: Superintendent’s Budget Presentation
March 14, 2023: Budget Workshop Q & A
March 28, 2023: Budget Work Session
April 4, 2023: Board Action to Adopt the Proposed Budget
May 2, 2023: Budget Hearing
May 16, 2023: Budget Vote and Election