Indian Lake Central School
Today’s school budgetary environment weighed heavily on the minds of Indian Lake School Board members during their monthly meeting Tuesday, Dec. 18.
The regular ongoing budgetary items are the more easily identifiable and easier to forecast with regard to monetary needs. The non-recurring, larger, plant, equipment and maintenance needs are more difficult to forecast and can contribute to major budgetary emergencies. They are the issues that make budgeting as much art as science and require contingency planning.
For this reason, the board received a verbal report from both George Virgil and Jeremy Monthony providing a general overview of transportation and maintenance operations issues and needs both for the foreseeable future. The board heard of a number of issues that will need to be addressed in the future including boiler replacement (with or without the biomass boiler grant), replacement of a 1964 dishwasher for which parts are no longer available, need for an adequate faculty parking lot surface, replacement of plumbing lines in various areas of the building, the aging nature and growing shortcomings of a 12 year old tractor, gymnasium floor maintenance and other capital needs.
With each issue, the board discussed potential ways to address each need to ensure the availability of the utility each item provides. Board members related a recent report that suggested that 41 percent of districts feel that they could be bankrupt within the next two years.
Jon Voorhees, Board president, said that he did not believe that this district is among that 41 percent, but alluded to the fact that with the tax cap, ”it will be tough to get budget for these capital expenditures. We need to continually think outside of the box if things break down.”
Some of this outside-the-box thinking was reflected in the discussions that took place during the meeting. Contingencies consisted of leasing options, outsourcing services, district partnering, cooperation with town and county services and others.
Attention turned to the fact that the surprise asbestos abatement during the current building construction project has eaten up the funds needed for the generator necessary to make the building an emergency shelter. Discussions ensued surrounding the potential receipt of the grant for the biomass boiler and how the savings in energy that such a boiler should provide could save the amount necessary to cover the generator.
School Superintendent Mark Brand made the proposal that perhaps there will be an opportunity to package a new funding request for the generator and remaining asbestos abatement and go to the voters explaining that the biomass boiler savings is expected to eventually recoup these expenditures to the budget of future years.
Voorhees summarized the tenor of the evening’s meeting when he said, “There is a movement afoot to consolidate (districts) … We need to be creative to survive.”