Presentation on $122.6M school budget Monday



Staff writer

A presentation and hearing on the Rome school district’s proposed 2020-21 budget of $122.6 million will be Monday at 6:30 p.m. on a remote basis.

It will be streamed through the district’s YouTube channel starting at 6:20 p.m. at online. A link to join the webinar is at online. The meetings have been using virtual platforms due to COVID-19.

The presentation and hearing will not be a budget development session, according to the school district. Superintendent Peter C. Blake will present the budget plan, and there will not be a “live” question-and-answer session. Questions from the public can be submitted prior to the meeting to by email.

The proposed budget was adopted last week by the Board of Education, and will be subject to final approval by district voters in a June 9 election before taking effect July 1; the spending plan has no local tax levy increase and would maintain programs including no staff layoffs. The public had opportunities to submit questions on a “live” basis during the board meeting last week, and also at a May 14 presentation and hearing.

Board President Stephen P. Hampe, when asked about Monday’s additional upcoming hearing, said the district is obligated by law to present the board-approved budget no more than 14 days nor less than seven days before the annual election date. In prior years, sessions such as the one Monday have “always been a presentation of the board-approved budget, not a ‘work-in-process’ meeting,” he explained. “This is why there will be no live Q&A” on Monday, said Hampe. He added that a video of Blake’s budget presentation has been available for several weeks for public review.

There can be no change to the overall dollar amount in the proposed 2020-21 budget adopted by the board, said Hampe. But there potentially could still be shifts in where the funding is spent, he observed.

The proposed budget, up about $5.9 million from the current 2019-20 budget, allocates about $11.9 million from the district’s fund balance/savings and reserves to cover a projected deficit. It seeks to take into account the uncertainties caused by COVID-19; among the unknown factors are the requirements for socially distanced education and busing for the 2020-21 school year, plus possible future state financial aid reductions.

School buildings closed in mid-March and will not reopen for the rest of the 2019-20 year, with instruction continuing on a remote basis.


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