Creating a School Budget
Cobleskill-Richmondville School District residents have the final say on the annual school budget when they vote each May. Prior to that vote, several steps and a lot of work must take place to craft a balanced budget proposal.
The C-RCS Board of Education, comprised of elected volunteers from the community, sets goals for education in the district every school year. Those goals help the district measure its success in relation to meeting community and state education standards. The school board and superintendent use them to guide the budget process and to help prioritize budget items.
The school board responsibilities currently fall under five categories:
- defining the philosophy of the district;
- setting goals and objectives to achieve educational progress;
- establishing policies for the operation of the school district;
- evaluating the effectiveness of district programs and services;
- developing a budget consistent with educational needs and community resources.
An important part of planning for the future is reflecting on the past. Early in the budget process, the school board and superintendent review data on current student enrollment, academic performance, and costs to operate the district, including employee salaries and benefits. They also consider trends in the costs of supplies (e.g., fuel, electricity, food) and outside services (e.g., BOCES programs).
The school board and administrators regularly research educational trends and state and federal education standards. They also research college and job market trends that could impact future graduates. Throughout the school year, various administrators deliver presentations at board meetings to help board members stay abreast of school programs and activities.
Building a budget is not just about expenses, so the school board and superintendent also research revenue trends. That means looking at trends in state aid, researching changes in the local tax base and the challenges facing residents and business owners who provide the funds for the school tax levy.
The superintendent delivers to the board a draft budget proposal that is a culmination of several months’ worth of reviewing and researching. That proposal also goes before a Citizens’ Budget Committee, which consists of community volunteers, who meet several meetings between January and April. They ask questions and share residents’ perspective on the budget before it moves to a final proposal.
The Citizens’ Budget Committee is not the only way for community members to have input on the proposal. All residents are encouraged to attend Citizens’ Budget Committee meetings, budget presentations, and board meetings, and to explore this website to learn more about the budget.
From January through March, the school board and superintendent review the Citizens’ Budget Committee and community feedback on the initial budget proposal. Budget elements that are legal requirements (e.g., employee contracts, state mandated special educations services) generally cannot be adjusted, but some budget areas may be adjusted based on that feedback. A final budget proposal is then formally presented to the community in April.
Perhaps the most important step in the process is the annual school budget vote. The next vote will be held on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, from 7 a.m.–9 p.m.
School district residents in the towns of Worcester, Decatur, Roseboom, Seward, Richmondville, Summit, Jefferson, Blenheim, and Fulton (west of the junction of Tower and Greenbush Roads) vote at Radez Elementary, 319 E. Main Street, Richmondville. School district residents in the towns of Root, Carlisle, Esperance, Schoharie, Cobleskill, Middleburgh, and Fulton (east of the junction of Tower and Greenbush Roads) vote at Golding Middle School, 155 Washington Ave., Cobleskill.
Residents may vote if they are 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, a resident of the district for at least 30 days prior to voting day and a registered voter. District residents who are not yet registered can register by mail or in person with their county Board of Elections. Download Voter Registration Form in PDF format.
Eligible Cobleskill-Richmondville School District residents who are registered voters and unable to make it to the polls on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, can cast their votes by absentee ballot. An application must be completed in order to receive an absentee ballot. Download an application in PDF format. Completed applications for absentee ballots must be received by the District Office no later than May 13 if the ballot is to be mailed to the voter. All ballots must be received by 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 19.