Starpoint starts 2013-14 budget talks
Andrews presented the current look at the district’s five-year plan, which started with the adopted 2012-13 budget. This plan was created when they were first faced with the tax cap and declining state aid.
“We wanted to look to the future,” said Andrews. “Will the decisions we make now help five years from now.”
The district projected out where they see themselves over the next five years, including a budget increase over five years ranging from 3.34 percent to 3.66 percent.
For the current school year, Starpoint has a tax levy increase of 3.09 percent, which was less than the tax cap limit.
With only about one third of the information for the 2013-14 budget, Andrews said the district is looking at a tax levy increase of 2.7 to 2.9 percent.
Andrews said if the 2012-13 actual expenditures and revenues come in 100 percent as planned, the district is looking at deficits of $950,000. For 2013-14 there would be a $1.7 million deficit, $2.6 million for 2015-16 and $3.6 million for 2016-17.
With the 2012-13 budget, the district worked to lower it, reducing costs and driving numbers down. Andrews said that work helped the five-year plan.
“The budget work done last year has significantly decreased numbers,” said Andrews.
Without it, the district would be facing a $1.6 million deficit for 2012-13 all the way to a $4.7 million deficit for 2016-17.
To get to that lower number Starpoint made changes in utility management, refunded serial bonds, brought BOCES programs in-house and offers self-funded health insurance.
Budget talks will continue over the next few months. Andrews said he is hopeful that Starpoint can have their preliminary budget finished by the end of December, instead of Feb. 1, giving them more time to review and make changes.
In other district news:
• Director of Instruction, Assessment and Staff Development Sean Croft presented the state of the district presentation on how Starpoint is doing on state and local assessments.
Croft said when he began working for the district, Starpoint was ranked No. 1 in terms of test scores against other district in Niagara County. He said he wanted to raise that and began comparing Starpoint results to the results of similar sized schools around the state.
He said he now wants to raise that bar once more and is starting to compare Starpoint test results against the top 10 schools in Western New York. Those schools are Williamsville, Clarence, East Aurora, Orchard Park, Amherst, Lewiston-Porter, Grand Island, Iroquois, Alden and Hamburg.
“We should be … we will be a top 10 school,” said Croft. “We have the resources.”
Monday’s presentation was the first of three, and he presented the results from the ELA and Math 3-8 testing.
The 2011-12 ELA Level 4 mastery results for grades three, four and seven already exceed the results from the top 10 schools. For Level 3 and 4 passing, grades three, four, six, seven and eight exceed the top 10 school average.
The 2011-12 Math Level 4 mastery results for grades four, six and eight already exceed the top 10 schools average and for the Level 3 and 4 passing, grades three, four, six and eight exceed the results.
Croft recognized that grade five is in need of improvements in both ELA and math, and that gap is growing between Starpoint results and the top 10 average.
“We’re not afraid to raise expectations,” he said. “We’re going to raise them again.”