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Check Out Our Community Forum Presentation

The Marion Central School District hosted a Community Forum on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024 to discuss its 2024-25 Budget.

David Little, Executive Director for the Rural Schools Association of New York State, was a guest speaker.

Members of the Board of Education and Marion Central School District Administrative Team also took questions from people in attendance.

CLICK HERE to view the presentation.

The questions and answers from those in attendance are listed below:

 

  1. On one of the slides you mentioned consolidation.  Can you clarify what you mean by consolidation?

We are looking to consolidate through sharing some services with other Districts.  For example, we currently share a Food Service Director with two other Districts.  Also, consolidation can also mean a school merger process.  The school merger process is something we will have a BOE presentation on at the 3/18 meeting.  The presentation will give an overview of the steps of the merger process, so the Board can make an informed decision on whether merging is something they’d like to consider. 

  1. If we were to merge with another district, does the community have input on this?

Yes; the community is able to give input and ultimately, votes on it as part of the merger process.  We will share more details on the process as a whole at the 3/18 BOE meeting.

  1. In your presentation, you mentioned that 7 positions were hired using ARP funding. Can you tell us what those 7 positions are?

These positions are:  two social workers, a reading interventionist, a half time UPK and half time intervention teacher, a music teacher, MTSS Coordinator, and Math interventionist. CCRSA funding was used to hire support staff and an Assistant Principal.

  1. What is the status of the electric bus purchase and implementation?

The District completed a NYSERDA study in the 22-23 school year. The study showed that the Town’s infrastructure needs to be improved in order for the bus garage to be able to charge electric buses. The District does not plan on purchasing electric buses or implementing bus garage improvements to support charging until we are required to.

 

  1. Do we need to continue purchasing buses on a 5 year plan?
    Yes, we need to purchase diesel buses to help with the potential transition to electric buses. The buses are aided at 85% and are under warranty for 5 years, reducing our maintenance costs. The bus capital reserve is set up to replenish itself from the aid received from the bus purchases.

 

  1. Does the district put insurance out for bid?  Both health and other insurance?
    Health Insurance is part of a 43 school consortium to receive the lowest possible cost through volume and to share legal costs associated with all the requirements for health care. We utilize Utica National for our general school insurance.  This is managed locally through Sullivan Insurance.

 

  1. One of the questions that was submitted stated that the district spends $36K per student; is that accurate?

If you take the entire school budget and divide it by the number of students, then you would get about $30k per student. This includes out of district students that we are required to pay for as well. New York State calculates the cost per student based on academics only, which is about $21K per student. Here is a link to look up any school district’s cost per student: https://oese.ed.gov/ppe/new-york/.


How does this compare to other districts?

We are average or below average in comparison to other districts of similar size within our region.

  1. What are the top 3 programs you are considering to cut?

At this point we are not looking to cut entire programs.  We are looking at things like decreasing the number of sections we offer at specific grade levels or in certain courses, reducing the number of electives, and offering certain electives every other year. 

  1. Staff cuts are being made “tomorrow”, what does that mean?
    There is a staff budget meeting on 2/13.  This is not when cuts will be shared.

 

  1. If a student is currently in an educational  “track” or certificate program what happens if you cut the program?

We are looking at our programming as a whole and do not intend to leave a student on a track/path that cannot be completed.  We would phase out programming over time so that students in a specific track or program could finish.

  1. Do you have a timeframe on when we will know if they will reinstate Save Harmless?

The NYS legislative budget is due on 4/1.  If it is on time, then we would know by then if our Save Harmless funding will be reinstated.

 

  1. Would you be willing to have another open forum before the budget vote?
    The Board is required to adopt a budget by April 16th. We have a budget hearing each year before the budget vote.  This year it is scheduled for May 7th. The budget vote is May 21st.

 

  1. Can the next forum be streamed?

This is something the BOE is willing to consider.