Senator Saland's Legislation To Assist Schools On Contingency Budgets With Energy Costs Passes The Senate

Stephen M. Saland

February 16, 2006

Senator Steve Saland (R,C - Poughkeepsie) today announced that legislation he sponsored to help school districts on contingency budgets (S.2731-A) unanimously passed the Senate. Saland’s legislation excludes the amount of the increase in fuel costs over the prior school year from the contingency cap. The bill will now be sent to the Governor for his consideration.

Contingency budgets are utilized when a school district’s budget is not approved by the 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 and unanticipated rise in fuel costs recently. This legislation would provide relief for this school year and thereafter. If signed by the Governor, increased fuel costs, which are clearly out of the control of school districts, would be excluded from the cap. During the 2005-2006 school year, 41 schools in New York operated under contingency budgets.

"With the dramatic increase in the cost of fuel, this legislation is especially timely," said Senator Saland. "Should this bill become law, schools operating on contingency budgets will not have to cut vital programs and services to students in order to pay their fuel costs while still staying within their contingency cap."