School budget discussed

Chateaugay Central School District on River Road in Chateaugay. Evan Wheaton/Malone Telegram

CHATEAUGAY — The school district is currently sitting at a budget of about $13,736,000, with a tax levy of $3,007,830, officials said this week.

The tax rate will be determined in August, Superintendent Loretta Fowler said Friday.

For the district to jump down below the tax cap, it will need to reduce the budget by $188,061, officials said.

“We have taken some of the teaching salaries out ... because we have some federal money that’s going to cover those,” District Treasurer Jackie Cowan said at Monday’s Board of Education meeting. “Instructional salaries are down about $111,000 now.”

“That is what we have reduced instructional salaries by, but have not made cuts to the number of employees,” Fowler said. “We are using federal funds to cover those costs.”

The federal deadline for the Rescue Legislation Stimulus Package is April 1.

The school’s budget needs to be sent to the state by April 23, Fowler said.

BOCES’s overall budget is only down by $46,319 from last year, Cowan said, addressing that there was a major $235,979 increase in special education expenses.

“This is the overall increase to the Special Education Programs we purchase through BOCES,” Fowler said.

There was an increase in the regular education portion of the BOCES budget, as well, by $35,000.

“$35,000 is the increase to the regular education code provided by BOCES for programs to support students in the general education setting,” Fowler said.

Cowan said BOCES saw such a spike in special education due to taking on new students, during the pandemic.

“We’re a school that’s been open — even though we haven’t been open to the level that we wanted, it’s still more open than other districts and those students are coming here.”

The co-curricular portion of the budget is up by $12,000. Data processing dropped by about $45,000, while business administration was up about $25,000.

“We have an overall decrease of about $46,000,” Cowen said. “That’s not great news — but hopefully we’ll see some changes in the state budget to help offset that.”

Fowler said the $46,000 is the overall decrease for all the BOCES services that the district purchased.

“We had a decrease in the BOCES capital project payment of $355,713,” she said. “Then with all the other services we had an overall decrease of $46,000.”

The district will now wait for the state budget to return, in order to see if numbers in state aid revenues have changed. The district will adjust accordingly, Fowler said.

The budget vote will be May 18.

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