Maine-Endwell Central School District

2018 Budget Chat Transcipt
 This is the transcript from the district's May 3, 2018, Budget Chat. No posts were edited. 
 
2018 Budget Chat 
May 3, 7:00 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Good evening and thank you for viewing and participating in our 2018-2019 Maine-Endwell CSD Budget Chat
Our chat is scheduled to begin at 7PM and will end at 8PM. A transcript of the chat will be provided on our website. We look forward to your questions.
Reminder, the 2018-2019 school budget vote is Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 from 11AM to 8PM.
May 3, 7:01 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): On May 15th, 2018, district residents will be voting on the following;
Approve 2018-2019 Budget of $52,498,862
Proposition 1 - Purchasing of three (3) full-size buses; one (1) full-size wheelchair bus; one (1) truck (SUV) – total not to exceed $530,500
May 3, 7:04 PM
Guest3612 (Guest): I hear that it has become difficult to to sustain the school budget from year to year not only at Maine Endwell but at other school districts. . What is the biggest challenge that you face during budget planning.
May 3, 7:07 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Thank you for your question - you are absolutely correct, we continue to struggle with shrinking revenue (state budget is approved two weeks prior to the budget being adopted). On the expenditure side, we continue to struggle with the continual increases of health insurance - an issue that most industries in both public and private are tackling.
May 3, 7:08 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): We are truly dealing with circumstances where expenditures are significantly out pacing revenues - we have limited control over this imbalance of the equation.
May 3, 7:09 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Our objectives for development of the 2018-2019 school budget are:
Reduce reliance on using reserves / fund balance as a recurring revenue source for operating expenditures.
Reduce structural imbalance (expenditures > revenue).
Keep all student programs intact.
May 3, 7:10 PM
Guest3612 (Guest): I notice in the budget newsletter that the biggest line item is employee benefits. Are you looking at other options such as an HMO, PPO or higher deductible options? Many local industries have had to move in that direction in order to continue to operate successfully.
May 3, 7:12 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Thank you for your question - we have looked at multiple options and have a district-wide multiple stakeholder taskforce who are tasked with looking at various options to help control health insurance costs. The biggest challenge is that any change in contributions or benefit structure must be negotiated. While we have had limited success to date, this will continue to be an area we must work cooperatively to solve.
May 3, 7:13 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): What are our financial challenges? 
Financial sustainability. 
Maintaining a stable staffing base without constant fluctuations or need for periodic reductions.
Creating a balance between employee needs and sustainable contractual provisions such as health insurance.
Educating staff and community on reality of finite resources and importance of strategic planning to prioritize needs and objectives.
May 3, 7:14 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): We must work cooperatively to solve these challenges.
May 3, 7:17 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Did you know? 
Ninety-seven (97%) percent of our $52.4 million revenue comes from New York State (school aid) and the local tax levy (residents living within the Maine-Endwell District).
May 3, 7:18 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Did you know? 
A brand new school bus for Maine-Endwell, after receiving 89% transportation aid from New York State, and, receipt of funds from trade in value of the bus being replaced, costs the District approximately $12,000 – with the payment spread out over a five year time period!
May 3, 7:21 PM
Guest3612 (Guest): I understand the need to negotiate and cooperate in order to resolve the budget issues. There must be other schools that have had success in managing the same type of budget issues that we face. Have any of those schools been contacted or are there state resources that can be called upon for assistance?
May 3, 7:25 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Thank you for your question - we have reached out to other school districts - both within our region and outside. There are a lot of variables that are unique. What we have learned is that we must determine a sustainable staffing level. As we look at new programs or discuss new needs, staffing needs are typically mentioned. Finding ways to utilize our existing staff to move forward is critical. Finding ways to reduce our long-term costs without losing programs is critical. Sharing our need to find s
May 3, 7:27 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): We have reached out to our state legislators and are looking at new funding sources (e.g. grants). Health insurance has increased from 16% of our total budget to 21% over the past five years is the elephant in the room - we must work cooperatively to find a solution.
May 3, 7:28 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Our health insurance task force - which includes all employee bargaining units, community members, administration, and Board members is trying to find creative ways to solve the health insurance problem.
May 3, 7:29 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): What opportunities do we have?Enrollment is growing – as of the 2018-2019 school year – District moved to fourth largest in Broome –Tioga BOCES region. Homer Brink Elementary has a current enrollment of 748 students – 60 more students than two years ago!Plan for making capital improvements every three to five years capturing maximum building aid with minimal local tax impact – eliminating the need for very large capital projects to address years of neglect.Maine-Endwell’s technology integration is on the
May 3, 7:30 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): the leading edge of school districts across the entire nation.
Investment in professional development including technology training, curriculum instruction, and assessment work are ongoing year round.
An engaged student community providing their voice to the decision-making process.
May 3, 7:31 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Did you know? 
Our four largest expenditures are; salaries ($18.6 million), employee benefits ($15 million), debt service ($7.7 million) and BOCES services ($7.5 million) – accounting for 93% of every dollar spent.
May 3, 7:36 PM
Guest3612 (Guest): It sounds like the if health care does not get resolved, the only option left is to reduce the salary component of the budget. I don’t believe that anyone would want to knowingly select that because it will adversely affect the education of our students. I hope the people doing the negotiations agree.
May 3, 7:38 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Thank you for your question. We work hard to help educate our staff on the issues surrounding our budget.
May 3, 7:38 PM
Guest5899 (Guest): Could any new employees in the future be offered a different health insurance package? I believe this is the direction the state has gone with their employees and many companies.
May 3, 7:40 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Thank you for your question - we have had this conversation with two of our units. We feel this is an area we must continue to discuss and investigate. As was stated earlier, we must negotiate all aspects of health insurance including contribution rates, plans, etc. This is a concept we will continue to explore.
May 3, 7:42 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): We currently have a health insurance task force that is exploring options to help improve our health insurance plans. We recognize that a better (cheaper) health insurance plan benefits both of us - more money in people’s pockets and cheaper costs for the District (and employee).
May 3, 7:43 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): This concept has been implemented in the NYS Pension system (Tier 5 and 6) - the concept exists.
May 3, 7:44 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Did you know? 
Our High School has received a Reward School Designation, three of the past five years – the highest designation for student achievement by the New York State Department of Education!
May 3, 7:49 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Did you know? 
The District has $1.5 million in a capital reserve for use with our next capital project. A capital reserve is established to set aside funds for future use. This reserve saves our residents from having to pay additional funds for new projects as the money has already been saved.
May 3, 7:49 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Future use can be either capital projects or land acquisition.
Note: The voter approved land acquisition (land adjacent to the High School) was funded through the use of this reserve.
May 3, 7:50 PM
Guest3612 (Guest): When do you expect to get a recommendation from the health care task force?
May 3, 7:51 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): The goal is to have a recommendation from the task force to the Board of Education and superintendent by June 30th. We plan on utilizing this information with future negotiations and budget development.
May 3, 7:53 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Reminder, the 2018-2019 school budget vote is Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 from 11AM to 8PM. 
Come enjoy a night of music, art, and ice cream beginning at 5:15PM until 8:00PM in our High School cafeteria, gymnasium, and auditorium.
May 3, 8:00 PM
Maine-Endwell (Admin): Thank you for participating in our budget chat – we appreciate your questions and hope that we have answered them in a comprehensive manner. A full transcript will be posted on the District website tomorrow for your review. Reminder, the 2018-2019 school budget vote is Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 from 11AM to 8PM. 
Enjoy the rest of your night.

 
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