Hhh Budget Hdbk 09


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A Guide to Understanding the HHH Budget Process

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Hhh Budget Hdbk 09

  1. 1. DISTRICT A Guide to Understanding the Budget SCHOOL Process CENTRAL ACADEMICS, ATHLETICS and the ARTS Perfectly blending
  2. 2. Superintendent’s Message Dear Community Members, We are pleased to be able to provide you with this budget handbook, which was designed to answer some of the questions that have been asked about the budget process at various school venues. It is the intention of the Board of Education and District Administration to continue our policy of openness and transparency with all constituents in our schools and community. We hope you will find this handbook informative. Sincerely, 2
  3. 3. Inside this handbook... About Half Hollow Hills ..... 4-5 What’s the purpose of the budget? ...................... 6 What are the budget goals? ....................... 6 What are the challenges for 2009/10? ......................... 6 What’s a contingency budget? ................................. 7 What will happen if the budget doesn’t pass? ........... 7 How is the proposed budget developed? ............... 8 What does the District do to safeguard taxpayers? .......... 9 Impact of State aid cuts ........................ 10 -11 District bond rating ............ 12 2009/10 voting information .......................... 12 3
  4. 4. About Half Hollow Hills… The District maintains 14 buildings occupying approximately1.5 million square feet, covering over 300 acres of property, including over 35 athletic fields. Universal transportation for District students requires over 90 buses. (We make approximately 510 trips daily – 255 twice a day.) Special needs routes require an additional 38 mini buses, and transportation to out-of-district, private and parochial schools necessitates the use of an additional 48 buses. The District also transports students for technical schools, cultural and educational events and athletics, and provides after-school activity buses for all grade levels. We use 25 buses for regular summer school and 15 for special needs students. The District employs 52 administrators (Central Office and all buildings); 854 full-time teachers; 18 part time-teachers; and 821 non-certificated employees – including clerical, custodians, maintenance, monitors, paraprofessionals, food service, bus drivers and technology staff. High School East and High School West have approximately 60 clubs, including an Internet Club, Literary Magazine and Environmental Club. Opportunities in art include a full range of electives, clubs and art service clubs. Music opportunities include marching band, jazz band, orchestra, chorus and theater performances for grades 5-12. The high schools and middle schools each present fall and spring productions, and the fifth graders present a joint production under the title Hills on Stage. A wide variety of interscholastic sports teams are fielded. There are 135 different teams throughout the District, representing 28 different sports at the high school level and 17 at the middle school level. Many teams are recognized by New York State as Scholar-Athlete teams. 4
  5. 5. quot;Triple Aquot; District: Our students and our schools excel on every level – in Academics, Athletics and the Arts. • Standard & Poor’s Outperforming School District • New York Excelsior Award • Commissioner’s List of High-Achieving Gap-Closing Schools: High School East, High School West, Candlewood, West Hollow • Our high schools offer 25 AP courses with 130 available electives • Model Program for Children with Autism • Rising Star Program: Ensuring a High Level of Success for Socio-Economically Disadvantaged and Minority Students • Highly Regarded Research Program • Triple A District: Perfectly Blending Academics, Athletics and the Arts • World-Class Theatre Programs for Elementary, Middle School and High School Students • Multi-Award Winners of the Prestigious Long Island Arts Alliance Scholar-Artist Awards • Suffolk County Championships in Basketball, Soccer, Swimming/Diving, Track and Wrestling • 2008 SCMEA All-County Concerts: Highest Number of Participants in Grades 5 through 10 Half Hollow Hills’ student achievement levels are among the highest on Long Island, while our per-pupil spending is among the lowest on Long Island. 5
  6. 6. What is the purpose of the budget? To meet the educational and fiscal goals of the District by supporting the educational mission, planning for the operational needs of the District and maintaining financial integrity. What are the budget goals? • To maximize the achievement of all students by strengthening our Districtwide Professional Learning Community • To continue to develop, deliver and implement a budget that strengthens and maximizes all of our resources while diminishing the financial impact on taxpayers • To ensure equitable opportunities and equitable outcomes for all students and continue to review programs to ensure consonance with latest research on educational excellence • To continue to address demographics and space needs to ensure appropriate learning environments for all students • To continue to support the physical & mental health and well being of all District students and staff • To continue to improve and upgrade the appearance, safety and functionality of all District buildings and grounds • To embrace technology to strengthen teaching, learning and manage data • To improve communication between and among all stakeholders What are the challenges for 2009/10? • To run an efficient system without negatively impacting programs for our students • New York State’s economic crisis • The Governor’s Deficit Reduction Plan, if approved, would reduce our State aid by $2,932,698 • A proposed mandate for districts to fund 15 percent of preschool special education and transportation, currently funded by NYS and Suffolk County. This new mandate would cost Half Hollow Hills an additional $1 million. This proposal is not included in our current budget. • A proposed mandate to implement an employer payroll tax on businesses, municipalities, not-for-profits and school districts, to bail out MTA. This would cost Half Hollow Hills over $400,000. 6
  7. 7. What is a contingency budget? Under State law, school boards can submit a budget to voters a maximum of two times. If the proposed budget is defeated twice, the Board must adopt a contingency budget. The Board also has the option of going directly to a contingency budget immediately after a first budget defeat. Under a contingency budget, the District may not increase spending by more than 120 percent of the Consumer Price Index or 4.0 percent, whichever is lower. The contingent budget formula cap for 2009/10 is 4.0 percent, as per the New York State Education Department. The 2009/10 budget currently being prepared is already below the State's formula cap. What will happen if the 2009/10 budget doesn't pass due to NYS regulations? Required cuts from the proposed budget would, at a minimum, include student supplies, community use of buildings and grounds, and equipment, buses and capital projects. 7
  8. 8. How is the proposed budget developed? Throughout the year, the Board of Education Sub-Committee meets and performs a line-by-line analysis of the entire budget. From July through September, the Business Office works diligently to close the financials from the previous fiscal year. The District’s external auditors independently review the financials from the previous fiscal year, and a review and analysis begins for the current year’s fiscal responsibilities. On a monthly basis beginning in September, the PTA Budget Committee reviews the current year’s budget. The Committee includes community members representing the various schools throughout the District, Board of Education members and Central Administration. This is a line-by-line analysis of every budgeted dollar in the District. In October preparations for the following year’s budget begins. The Board of Education adopts a budget calendar providing a timeline for Central Administration and the Board to meet. The Business Office also disseminates budget development packets to all necessary staff. In November, proposals for equipment purchases, plant and capital project requests are provided to the Business Office. In December, equipment, plant, and capital project requests are reviewed with building principals. In January, projections for the next school year’s staffing are analyzed along with enrollment projections. In February, Central Office reviews a first draft of the budget. Detailed analyses of all projections take place and necessary revisions are made. The Budget is then presented to the Board of Education by March 1. Budget work sessions with the Board of Education and community are held beginning in March. The Board of Education and Central Administration continue an in-depth analysis of the proposed budget. The PTA Budget Committee also provides input at the monthly meeting. The Board of Education officially adopts a budget in April. Details of the projected budget are presented during April and May. Information regarding the proposed budget is disseminated to the entire community during the weeks preceding the budget vote in May. 8
  9. 9. What does the District do to safeguard taxpayer dollars? The Half Hollow Hills School District recognizes and understands that we have a responsibility to ensure that tax money is spent efficiently and effectively. Our primary objective is to provide the best education for our children in keeping with our commitment to honesty, integrity and transparency. These are some of the internal controls that are in place to safeguard taxpayer and State aid dollars: • The Board of Education exercises careful oversight concerning all of the District’s financial transactions. • The Board of Education, as well as the administrative staff has attended numerous workshops that focused on internal controls. • The Board of Education has adopted additional policies governing the financial management and operation of the District. • The District maintains strict segregation of duties. This is to ensure that the assets of the District are safeguarded. • Three individuals (minimum) are required to process checks. • Two individuals (minimum) are required to authorize wire transfers. • Bank reconciliations are performed monthly by an individual outside of the cash receipts and cash disbursements functions. • Payroll audits are performed for every biweekly payroll. • Two approvals (minimum)are required to process all purchase order requests. • The District follows all NYS regulations, which include the hiring of an independent claims auditor, internal auditor, and external auditor. 9
  10. 10. Governor's Proposal Would Have Cost HHH $4.4 Million* Over the past months, the District has taken an active role in opposing both cuts to State aid for our schools and the implementation of any new unfunded mandates, which place a financial burden on taxpayers. • Governor’s proposed deficit reduction assessment to “A good education Half Hollow Hills: may be okay in some $3.0 million restored districts, but our standards are much • Governor’s proposed shift of higher. How can preschool special education we maintain the costs from the State/County resources to hire to Half Hollow Hills: the best and $1.0 million eliminated brightest teachers, to provide university • Governor’s proposal to impose level professional employer tax on all businesses development, afford including school districts to fill students and staff MTA payroll tax: $400,000 with the opportunity not yet decided to work with state-of- the-art technologies • Total cost of Governor’s original and maintain quality proposal to Half Hollow Hills: facilities and fields $4.4 million when annual cuts continually jeopardize * As indicated above, our lobbying our budget?” efforts helped to significantly reduce - Superintendent the potential tax burden facing our Dr. Sheldon Karnilow community by the Governor. 10
  11. 11. A recent letter to Governor Paterson from Superintendent Dr. Sheldon Karnilow March 4, 2009 Governor David A. Paterson State Capitol Albany, NY 12224 Dear Governor Paterson: In addition to the Deficit Reduction Assessment (DRA), the Half Hollow Hills Central School District strongly opposes any new unfunded mandates. Every report issued acknowledges that mandates are a significant factor in the growth of school district expenses, and the reports call for no unfunded mandates. Your own proposal has indicated a reduction in unfunded mandates. Yet, also in your budget is a proposal to shift 15% of pre-school special education expenses (currently funded through the State and Counties) to school districts. This contradictory proposal would cost taxpayers in the Half Hollow Hills Central School District an additional $1 million. This proposal would allow the State and Counties to lower their costs, while significantly increasing school district expenses. A second new unfunded mandate proposal that is problematic for us is the MTA payroll tax on all employers, including school districts, within the MTA region. This new 0.33% payroll tax would create an additional expenditure to the Half Hollow Hills Central School District of approximately $400,000. We respectfully request that our DRA be reinstated, any new unfunded mandates be removed from your budget, and unfunded mandates already in place be reprieved. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Dr. Sheldon Karnilow Superintendent of Schools 11
  12. 12. Our District Bond Rating Bond rating is an independent evaluation of a bond issuer. It is based on an analysis of the issuer's financial condition and asset base. Bond rating services are provided by, among others, Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Service. Moody's Investors Service has assigned a Aa2 rating to the Half Hollow Hills Central School Districts. This rating is given to bonds that are judged to be of high quality by all standards. The Aa2 rating reflects the District's substantial Suffolk County tax base, solid financial position and below average debt burden. Moody's believes the District's substantial $13.6 billion tax base will remain stable, and expects that the District's financial position will remain strong, given our prudent budgeting practices and effective management of our reserve. Half Hollow Hills 2009/2010 Budget Vote Tuesday, May 19 High School East 7am-10pm If you are not registered to vote, you may do so on any school day at the District Clerk’s office. Special Voter Registration Saturday, May 2, 10am-1pm Wednesday, May 13, 9am-8pm Last Day to Register May 14 District Clerk’s office Absentee Ballots Applications must be received by May 12 if the ballot is to be mailed to the voter, or by May 18 if ballot is to be picked up in person. Absentee ballots must be cast by 5 pm on Tuesday, May 19.