PY School Board hears about new guidelines

Gwen Chamberlain

Penn Yan Central School teachers and staff will have some new rules to follow for managing the funds for extracurricular activities.

At last week’s regular school board meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Business Carolyn Benedict provided an update on corrective action for managing the special activity funds and for internal controls.

The district’s auditing firm recommended changes be made to the way activity funds are managed following allegations that funds were diverted for private use by a Middle School teacher.

Ronald Dailey, a tenured seventh grade Social Studies teacher, has been suspended with pay following his Dec. 27 arrest on charges that he took funds from Middle School activity accounts.

In other business last week, the Penn Yan School Board members:

• Got their first look at budget projections for next year during their regular meeting Jan. 23.

While there are still lots of unknowns in the spending plan, Carolyn Benedict, assistant superintendent for business, warned that the district will not be entitled to what she calls “high tax” aid, which amounted to $290,000 this year. She said it’s a formula aid that’s based on the comparison of school district tax rates to statewide averages.

She said at this point it looks like the district can expect an increase of $610,000 in state aid overall. But state aid figures will change as the state budget process goes forward.

Salaries account for just over 50 percent of the school district’s budget. CSEA workers are likely to see a 3.7 percent increase in 2008, while members of the teacher’s union will get a 3.8 percent increase and administrators will get a 3.9 percent increase.

Another 30 percent of the budget goes to employee benefits and retirement and BOCES costs. 

Benedict gave an overview of the expenses she anticipates in transportation, custodial and maintenance cost and general support.

She said administrators are being told to plan on budgeting at the same level as the 2006-2007 budget. Cuts were made for the 2007-2008 school year.

So that means:

• The projected transportation costs will be set at $773,250, up from the $757,673 that’s expected to be spent throughout this year ($719,400 was originally budgeted, but that was adjusted to $729,650).

• The projected custodial and maintenance costs will be set at $875,000, down from the $1,446,220 projected to be spent throughout this year ($865,000 was originally budgeted, but that figure was increased to $1,458,931 to make some major improvements in technology systems this year).

• The projected general support costs will be budgeted at $518,000, down from the $553,486 projected to be spent through this year ($510,290 was originally budgeted, but then adjusted up to $580,972.)

This area covers the board and administration expenses.