Senator Steve Saland (R,I,C Poughkeepsie) today announced that legislation he sponsored to help school districts on contingency budgets, S.7025, has passed the Senate. Saland’s legislation excludes the amount of the increase in fuel costs over the prior school year from the contingency cap.
Contingency budgets are utilized when a school district’s budget is not ultimately approved by local voters. School districts operating on a contingency budget may not exceed the previous year’s budget by 4%, or 120% of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less. The contingency cap has caused severe financial hardship for these schools given the extreme rise in fuel costs. This legislation would provide relief for the 2008-2009 school year. Increased fuel costs, which are clearly out of the control of school districts, should be excluded from the cap.
"With the dramatic increase in the cost of fuel, this legislation is especially timely," said Senator Saland. "It is certainly appropriate to exempt these increased expenses from the spending cap. Otherwise, schools operating on contingency budgets might have to cut vital programs and services to students in order to pay their fuel costs and still stay within their contingency cap."
The bill has been sent to the Assembly for consideration.