School District Budget Called ‘Bitter and Difficult Pill’

December 12, 2014

Below are some of the comments from Hudson Budget Committee members, during the last week of the school district’s $50 million-plus budget review.  So as not to cause hurt feelings, their words are just listed randomly without noting who said what.

“Bitter and difficult pill to swallow;”

“Best bang for the buck;”

“This is where we are, very difficult, the brink of defeat;”

“True, honest and necessary budget to provide services;”

“Property and personnel cut only way to make a change;” and

“Cannot touch special education.

Only two motions were offered during four nights of review:  First the school district had received better than anticipated health insurance cost quotes, and this reduced the operating impact by 13 cents.  The second was from a motion by long-time committee member John Drabinowicz, who moved to remove all costs in the school district budget for the operations of the Hills Library.  As he spoke to his motion, he explained that he felt it was redundant for the school to pay the town (library trustee budget) for the use of the building when it is all taxpayers’ money (the same pockets) then to have the library have to declare that payment as a revenue.  He and Chairman Jasper spoke of this not being a policy change with no effect on how the Hills building is used but simply to cut down on paper work.  For the school district the adjustment totaled $8,450 from line items for water, sewer, oil and electric.

When revisiting the revenue side of the town budget on Monday night the 8th, Drabinowicz made the motion to adjust the revenue line of the library by the offsetting amounts, however, on Monday the total was only $7,735.  No one tried to explain and no library staff members or trustees were on hand at the Monday night meeting to clarify.

While there are two more nights scheduled to continue the town side of the budget and an as needed night on Dec. 22, the school budget rests on the table at $50,038,709 with the taxpayer impact of $47,052,226.  That is an 87 cent increase over the current year’s rate.  It should be noted in bottom line numbers, almost 60 cents of the increase is generated from teacher contracts passed by the voters last year, while 27 cents is an increase that off sets the windfall rate decrease from an audit in August when $1,013,000 was returned to the taxpayers.

Important dates to remember for the school district march to the polls are Dec. 29 when the budget committee reviews the three union contracts that will be warrant articles for approval, as well as a warrant article for renovation of the athletic stadium at Alvirne.

A required public hearing on the both the school district and town budgets will occur Jan. 8 at the community center at 7 p.m.  The deliberative sessions are schedule on Jan. 31 and Feb. 7, where the public will need to vote to send the warrant articles to the ballot for March voting.