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

When New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented his executive state budget proposal on Jan. 15, it included a $956 million increase in overall funding for school operations in the 2019-20 school year.

Of that, $338 million will be distributed statewide in additional foundation aid, which is the primary source of funding for everyday school operations. If the Legislature approves the governor’s budget, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District would only see from that a foundation aid increase of $94,458 to support its 2019-20 school budget.

Like any business, the school district faces annual cost increases in such areas 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.

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. F-M’s proposed 2018-19 budget was $82,898,692, and the district is currently anticipating an estimated $2.2 million budget increase for 2019-20 to maintain its current levels of student programming and services and additional funding for such priority areas as safety and security.

The executive budget proposal shows F-M receiving a total allocation of $19,772,560 for 2019-20, which is a $739,085 increase in total state aid compared to the current school year; however, $644,627 of that increase, or 87 percent, would be allocated in expense-driven aid categories such as reimbursements for BOCES spending and building aid for recently completed safety and security measures and projects at Fayetteville and Mot Road elementary schools.

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 2018-19, state aid supported 22.7 percent of F-M’s proposed budget while the tax levy was budgeted to fund 74.4 percent. The remaining 2.9 percent was expected from various sources of revenue.