Press-Republican

Local News

February 28, 2014

BCSD looks to add programs in 2014-15

BEEKMANTOWN — Beekmantown Central School’s financial outlook has improved considerably over the past year.

Last spring, the district was facing a nearly $1 million deficit, according to Superintendent Dan Mannix; however, a number of small changes have resulted in notable savings.

In fact, BCSD anticipates being able to add to its program offerings in 2014-15 — a dramatic change from recent years, when staff and programs were slashed in an effort to make ends meet.

BENEFIT SAVINGS

The Beekmantown Teachers and Support Staff unions recent negotiated a switch from Plan A to Plan B health insurance, which has been of significant help to the district, according to Mannix, who joined BCSD in August following the retirement of Scott Amo.

In addition, BCSD teachers, who have received annual salary increases of just under 5 percent for nearly the last 20 years, have agreed instead to annual raises of about 3 percent over the next four years.

“They understood the sustainability of our situation,” Mannix said at a recent meeting.

The district has also been able to realize savings by restructuring its out-of-school suspension and incarcerated-youth programs, he told the Press-Republican in a separate interview.

“Simply by all of us working together and talking and communicating, our outlook is far superior,” he said at the meeting.

AID UP; PENSION DOWN

Meanwhile, based on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal, the district is expecting its state aid to increase by 6 percent in 2014-15.

“Previously, we were budgeting 2 percent because that was what was communicated to us,” Mannix said.

And while, historically, contributions to employee and teacher retirement systems have increased significantly from year to year, they are not projected to go up as much next school year, Beekmantown Central Business Executive Mary LaValley Blaine noted.

In addition, Mannix announced at the board’s most recent meeting that the Clinton-Essex-Warren-Washington Schools Health Insurance Consortium, to which BCSD belongs, will use previously allocated but unspent fund balance to reduce the increase in health-insurance rates to 3 percent for both Plan A and Plan B.

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