Tough Times Require Tough Decisions by Hudson School Board

November 22, 2013
by Doug Robinson

On September 9, Superintendent Bryan Lane sent to the Hudson School Board members a memo titled “Revenue in the 2014-2015 School Year.”

The purpose of the memo was to outline possible projection losses from this year’s school budget and possible ways to increase revenue in an effort to provide the children of Hudson with their continued quality of education.

Superintendent Lane outlined that due to a reduction in impact fees of $150,000, decrease in the adequacy grant (due to decreased enrollment) $50,000, a decrease in the enrollment of kindergarten students from 200 to 186 (approximately) $25,000 and the anticipated decrease in federal funds of $199,225, Hudson’s School budget could be affected by $425,000.

In an effort to increase revenue funding, the School Board and the Superintendent addressed his bullets: “A conservative estimate is that half the student population at Alvirne rides the bus that is about 675 students.  If the charge for the ridership was $50 per semester, this could produce approximately $68,000, in revenue, 2.7 cents on the tax rate.  There are about 600 participants in the various sports at Alvirne, 200 at the middle school.  Fees at both the high school and middle school could be charged at a rate of $100 per athletic season, and we (could) cap each family at $300.  (A) conservative estimate would be revenue in the amount of $50,000.”

Superintendent Lane states that the recruitment of students would be “questionable”.  “There are currently three students who the board has granted permission to attend Alvirne, these students would be attending next year as well with a tuition rate of $10,800.  Once the decision is made to recruit, a set of acceptable but non-discriminatory criteria would need to be developed.  If we chose to accept 10 students per year that (would) be $108,000 in revenue, about 4 cents on the tax rate.”

Due to the projected shortfall, the School Board requested School Administrators bring their ideas back to the Board as to finding ways to reorganize, as well as areas to decrease expenses.  According to Superintendent Lane, the School Board was presented with a list involving staff reductions and reorganization ideas.

“We need to look at every position within our school system.  Tutors vs. teachers, and which position would make the most sense for both funding and value.  We are not looking at increasing the budget.  We are looking at ways to increase value.  Overall, we looked to decrease our current budget by $500,000, ” stated Superintendent Lane.  He continued, “Currently we are operating on the default budget, or the 2012-2013 school year budgets.  We are only looking to increase the budget if there is an increase value to our students.”

The proposed budget increases in the FY-15 budget are a result of an additional $600,000 health benefit charge, an additional $200,000 for contracted transportation service fees for special education children, and an expense of $300,000 to bring the Town of Hudson School SAU in line with state mandated focus monitoring.  In short, this means that the Town of Hudson needs to compress the gap between regular education and special education in accordance with state mandate.

In addition, all of the school unions are up for renegotiation this year, due to the fact that all wage increases for the past four years have been voted down by the voters.

All others areas of the Town of Hudson School budget have been level funded for FY-15.