Governor unveils executive budget; F-M to present 2020-21 preliminary budget in March

When New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented his executive state budget proposal on Jan. 21, it included a $586 million increase in overall funding for school operations in the 2020-21 school year.

The proposal shows F-M receiving a total allocation of $20,772,623 for 2020-21, which is a $1,060,547 increase in total state aid compared to the current school year.

However, $371,000 of that increase is building aid for recently completed capital projects. And all other expense-based state aid categories account for another $441,000 of the total increase, leaving the district with a $248,413 increase in foundation aid to support the district in 2020-21.

The district is currently anticipating an estimated $2.3 million budget increase for 2020-21 to maintain its current levels of student programming, services and funding for priority areas such as safety and security. 

The executive budget proposal is the formal beginning of budget negotiations between the governor and the New York State Legislature, with a final state budget deadline of April 1.

Like any business, school districts face annual cost increases in areas such as contractual salary increases and insurance premiums. The administration is continuously looking for ways to contain costs.

William Furlong, the district’s assistant superintendent for business services, began meeting with district staff in December to discuss department needs and begin developing a preliminary budget proposal, which will be presented to the board of education and community in March. 

Funding for the district’s operating budget comes from two main sources – state aid and the tax levy, which is the total amount of money the district collects from local property owners. Other smaller revenue sources, such as interest income, make up the district’s remaining revenue sources. 

For 2019-20, state aid supported 23.2% of F-M’s proposed budget while the tax levy was budgeted to fund 73.9%. The remaining 2.9% was expected from various sources of revenue.