Weekly Feature



2018-01-11 / Front Page

District sets forth four-year budget projection

by CHRIS GRAHAM
Editor

Lacking any significant numbers and drawing on estimates, the Orchard Park School District could see a $102.8 million budget for the 2018-19 school year.

Jeffrey Petrus, the district’s assistant superintendent of business, revealed the numbers during his annual four-year budget projection presentation on Tuesday night.

Petrus reminded the audience and the board that the projections contain a lot of assumptions since the district doesn’t know what Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal for state aid will be or the tax cap number. It also includes no programmatic or staffing changes.

The budget would be roughly $4.5 million or a 4.58 percent increase from the current spending plan. The main reasons for the increase are salaries, retirement rates and health insurance. This could potentially involve a $2.3 million budget deficit.

Highly estimated budgets for the district going forward would be around $107 million in 2019-20; $111 million in 2020-21 and $116 million in 2021-22.

Petrus will present the first draft budget for 2018-19 at the next board meeting.

During the public comment period, Shannon Palczynski, a member of the Quaker Marching Band Board, spoke on the need for new uniforms for the band.

Palczynski said the last time uniforms were purchased was 2007 and that all the core pieces of the uniform are in need of an update.

“For 11 years, these uniforms have been worn for hours, hemmed, hems removed, hemmed again, cleaned and pressed all in order to fit the band member who will be wearing them,” Palczynski said.

Palczynski said the uniform is very important in regard to scoring and added that Band Director Cheri Pritchard informed the band that judges had told her that members should not wear the white uniform pants because of the wear and tear.

The Quaker Marching Band Boosters covers the cost of dry cleaning uniforms for $3,000 and purchasing the white gloves for $500, while members pay a yearly band fee of $300 and purchase their own shoes and socks for $75 per member.

Previously, Superintendent Matthew McGarrity said the board would discuss the uniform replacement, possibly in the budget.

In another matter, McGarrity provided an update on the calendar discussion in regard to the 180-school-day requirement from the state Education Department.

McGarrity said that during the past year, the Education Department and the Board of Regents have discussed possible ways to give more flexibility to school districts on the calendar, especially regarding half days.

“The department is proposing an amendment to the regulation to eliminate the current daily minimum instructional hour requirement and more so look at it as an aggregate yearly requirement for the hours for students,” McGarrity said.

The minimum instruction-hour requirement is based on grade level.

McGarrity said there is currently a 45-day public comment period on the potential change. He added that he would be in favor of the measure for flexibility for the calendar.

The next meeting of the Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, in the District Office, 2240 Southwestern Blvd., West Seneca.

email: cgraham@beenews.com

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