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Contingent Budgets

If residents vote down a budget, the board of education has two options—resubmit the same budget or a revised budget for a revote on the third Tuesday in June (date set statewide); OR adopt a contingent budget.

If residents vote down a resubmitted budget, the district MUST adopt a contingent budget.

Rules for contingent budgets total tax levy cannot exceed total tax levy raised in prior year—a ZERO percent levy increase!

All non-contingent expenses must be cut from budget.

The administrative cap IS STILL IN EFFECT.”The administrative component of a contingent budget may not comprise a greater percentage of the contingency budget, exclusive of the capital component, than the lesser of: (1) that percentage which the administrative component had comprised in the prior year’s budget; or (2) that percentage which the administrative component had comprised in the last defeated budget presented for the subsequent year.”  Huh? Here’s what it means:Contingent Admin Component divided by (Contingent Admin + Program Components) = X%

That percentage (X%) MUST be less than or equal to the percentage you get when you do the same calculation for the defeated proposal AND the prior year’s adopted budget. [It must be less than or equal to BOTH.]

What expenses MAY and MAY NOT be included in a Contingent Budget?

Basic definition of “ordinary, contingent expenses” that may be included in a Contingent Budget: “Examples of ordinary contingent expenses include legal obligations, expenditures specifically authorized by statute and other items necessary to the maintenance of a school district’s educational program, the preservation of school property, and ensuring the health and safety of students and staff.” School Law, 31st edition, Section 4:36 (Numbers below refer to sections in the same volume.)

Here are some key examples.

  • MAY be included: Transportation of students within existing district limits, plus transportation to and from interscholastic athletic events, field trips, and other extracurricular activities. 
  • MAY be included: Interschool athletics, field trips and other extracurricular activities…However, school districts may pay for all or part of the costs of a field trip only if the field trip is part of their educational program.
    MAY NOT be included: Field trips for social or entertainment purposes. 
  • MAY be included: Use of school buildings for teachers’ meetings and parent-teacher association meetings with school-connected purposes. However, this does not include programs of entertainment or of a social nature. 
    MAY NOT be included: Public use of school buildings and grounds, except where there is no cost to the district, … but a district may charge a fee that meets or exceeds its actual costs.
  • MAY be included: Maintenance of necessary, sanitary facilities. 
    MAY NOT be included: Nonessential maintenance
  • MAY NOT be included: New equipment
  • MAY be included: Teacher supplies, student calculators
    MAY NOT be included: Student supplies, except for materials used in classes by students where uniformity is essential or to preserve health and safety (e.g., chemicals)
  • MAY be included: Expenditures attributable to projected increases in public school enrollment
  • MAY be included: Teacher salaries; salaries for necessary non-teaching employees
    MAY NOT be included: Salary increases for non-instructional, non-unionized employees (e.g., management/confidential employees) unless it is impossible to assure qualified personnel
  • MAY NOT be included: Consultant services to review district operations and make recommendations necessary for the creation of the budget.

Produced by the Capital Region BOCES Communications Service