School board unanimously approves 2019-20 proposed budget; voters will have their say May 21


The Board of Education met on Tuesday to approve the proposed 2019-20 budget. Additionally, the board recognized Francesca Di Cristofano for becoming an Intel ISEF finalist and continued its discussion on the renaming of the Glover Complex field in honor of the late Anthony Senerchia Jr.

The assistant superintendent’s update on finance and facilities, presented by Assistant Superintendent for Business James Hricay, covered the bidders for the budget of the Hutchinson project. According to Hricay, the next step is to meet with the lowest three bidders to make sure that everything is calculated properly. The next Hutchinson community meeting will be held April 29 for parents to understand the logistics of the construction. More information on the project will be shared at the next meeting.

During the public comment section of the meeting, Joe Benefico spoke regarding the Senerchia field discussion and offered an alternate option. His suggestion to the board was to build a wall of honor or a wall of fame at Glover field.

The board then voted unanimously to approve the $74.9 million budget. On May 21, residents will vote will on the budget, along with candidates for school board.

After several adjustments made, the spending plan represents a 1.74% increase from the 2018-19 school year. Taxpayers provide 85% of the funding for the budget, while 10% comes from the state. There is also an increase in BOCES aid from the state this year.

“Our state aid overall went down,” said Board of Education President Sue Bratone Childs. “But we got better news than we expected.”

The focus of the expenditure section of the budget is salary and benefits, with 80%.

“This makes a lot of sense,” said Hricay. “We’re a people heavy-business.”

Instructional costs form 77% of the budget, administrative costs take 8.8% and capital costs make up the remaining 14.4%. From largest to smallest, the big drivers for the budget increase are as follows: salaries, BOCES, tuition, interfund transfer, capital, contractual, materials and supplies, employee benefits, equipment, interfund transfer, debt service and textbooks. This is a year-to-year increase of $1.28 million.

Editor’s note: Francesca Di Cristofano is managing editor of the Pelham Examiner.