On Tuesday, May 16, Arkport residents will be asked to approve the spending plan for the 2023-24 school year. The budget put before the voters takes into consideration the effect of higher inflation, declining enrollment and the end of federal pandemic aid. The impact of these external factors, which the district has no control over, has resulted in administrators making some difficult but fiscally prudent decisions to create a spending plan that fully supports students while also finding savings and efficiencies.
The 2023-24 budget proposal calls for the elimination of four positions: three elementary teaching assistant positions, one high school business position and one unfilled office support position. The district will also reduce BOCES tech support to the equivalent of two days per week. It is anticipated that the elimination of these positions will not result in any change in student programming or services.
BOCES services are cost effective
Business classes such as consumer financial management and computer apps will continue to be offered; students seeking higher level business courses will have the opportunity to attend the Greater Southern Tier BOCES for these classes or participate in online courses offered by Corning Community College and neighboring districts. The advantage of Arkport students attending classes at GST BOCES is considerable cost savings and efficiencies for the district. Because BOCES services are shared by two or more school districts, they often cost much less than if districts provided the services on their own. By pooling resources, districts experience savings. In addition, New York State gives a financial incentive to participate in shared services by offering school districts state aid for BOCES services.
Budget proposal maintains a high level of instructional positions
Despite trimming these few positions, the number of instructional positions allocated in the 2023-23 budget is still at an all-time high. Prior to the pandemic, Arkport had 61 instructional positions and 38 non-instructional positions; proposed for next year are 66 instructional positions and 40 non-instructional positions.
Arkport achieves better outcomes with greater efficiency
Additionally, Arkport spends $27,081 to educate a student, which is more efficient than 14 other districts in the GST BOCES. This amount is only $3,681 more than the district that spends the least amount per student. This statistic is significant because Arkport spends far less per student to achieve far better Regents outcomes. Arkport leads GST BOCES districts with an average Regents passing rate of 90, which is an excellent return on investment.
Budget aligns with district goals
Each year, Arkport administrators develop a unique budget that is specific and relevant to the economic conditions the district is facing. External factors such as inflation and enrollment are balanced with what students need and what the community can afford. In preparation for next year, district administration had to make some difficult decisions; however, their commitment to putting forward a budget proposal that maintains fiscal responsibility and the highest level of student services never waivered. The 2023-24 spending plan supports the district’s goals and expectations of ensuring students leave Arkport schools prepared for the challenges of tomorrow.