Questions regarding the proposed 2017-2018 budget can be submitted below; questions will be answered weekly.
Q: How much money is budgeted to renew the Sarah Wells Trail and what is planned?
A: The budgeted amount for the 2017-2018 school year is $90,000. The lease costs are covered by the revenue that is generated by the services that are provided to the county, such as Pre-school Diagnostic Services. At this point, the District will continue to lease this property as long a necessary.
Q: My question is actually about Meet the Candidates night on 5/2. Would it be possible to videotape the event and post a link to it on the school website so that those who are unable to attend that evening could still have the benefit of learning about the candidates running this year? Thanks.
A: The Meet the Candidates Night is a PTO sponsored event. Therefore, videotaping the event would be at the PTO's discretion.
Q: Has the board taken at least $500,000 out of the unemployment reserve to reduce the tax increase for this year, the same reserve the State Comptroller said was overfunded? Given $450 a week and even with the 26 full weeks unemployment, you would need 50 unemployed to even reach $560,000 payout.
A: In the revenue portion of the budget, the District is allocating $5,360,000 or an additional $1,400,000. The reserves that will be used to fund this will all be evaluated in the June-August time-frame and the Unemployment Reserve will be reviewed.
Q: What are the costs for busing of students to schools outside of this district?
A: The total costs for transporting students on contracted (Private/Parochial/Special Needs) runs for 2015-16 was $1,404,775. The expensed to date costs for 2016-17 are $749,514. This does not include the cost of our in-house Private and Parochial transportation.
Q: Since the superintendent said that it was economically sound to contract these services to another bus company, even though we have our own buses, what is the amount of the contract with this other bus company? (Is there only one? Which one?)Current year? Last year?
A: Quality Bus Service LLC is providing multiple transportation service runs to the Washingtonville Central School District. These services are performed through the Orange-Ulster BOCES cooperative transportation agreement.
Q: How many students are transported this way? This year? Last year?
A: In 2015-16 the total number of students that were transported in this manner was 53 students. The number of students transported during the current school year is 196.
Q: How many different locations/schools do they go to? How many buses? How many runs?
A: The contracted runs go to a number of different locations. These locations include schools in Orange, Rockland, Westchester, Ulster, Sullivan, and Putnam counties. During the 2015-16 school year, students were transported to 25 different locations on 25 different buses for a total of 51 runs. Students are currently being transported to 38 different locations on 39 different buses for a total of 102 runs.
Q: Curious about the use of $400K reserves. Have you ever had to do that before? Is the budget not balanced that you had to use that much? What is it being used to cover?
A: The voters authorized the establishment of the Capital Reserve Fund to partially finance the capital construction project. By law, the voters need to authorize the use of the Capital Reserve Fund. If the voters approve the resolution, the $4,000,000 will be used to offset the cost of the construction projects that began last summer (2016). This money is not related to the General Fund (yearly budget). The budget is in balance.
Q: The benefits increase is $1,478,739. Can this be split to have participants picking up 50% and the District picking up the other 50%, which is more in-line with the prior year budget amount?
A: Healthcare contributions are a mandatory subject of labor negotiations. As such, any change in employee (participant) contribution needs to be negotiated into future labor agreements. Each participant member does already contribute a percentage of the premium.
Q: Is it true voting will only be in the high school? If so, why?
A: Yes, voting will only be at the High School this year. There has been a change in the law regarding voting machines. School districts can no longer use the lever voting machines. Therefore, we need to consolidate to one location because of the scan voting machines.
Q: If the budget passes, how soon will that be announced?
A: The polls are open from 6am to 9pm. Our expectation is that the results will be announced by 9:30pm. The District website will be updated to reflect the results.