Foundation Aid Increase Plans
The 2021-22 enacted state budget included language stating that, for the 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years, each school district receiving a foundation aid increase of more than ten percent or $10,000,000 must post to the district website prior to July 1 of each school year a plan by school year of how the funds will be used to address student performance and need, including but not limited to:
(i) increasing graduation rates and eliminating the achievement gap;
(ii) reducing class sizes;
(iii) providing supports for students who are not meeting, or at risk of not meeting, state learning standards in core academic subject areas;
(iv) addressing student social-emotional health; and
(v) providing adequate resources to English language learners, students with disabilities; and students experiencing homelessness.
The budget language states that, prior to posting such plan, each school district must seek public comment from parents, teachers and other stakeholders on the plan and take such comments into account in the development of the plan.
The Brighton Central School District was approved to receive an increase in Foundation Aid equal to $2.16 million, or 20.8%. Accordingly, we are required to post our specific plan. Throughout the 2021-22 budget development process, we presented the objective of implementing a full-day kindergarten program. To meet this strategic objective, the District was planning to use short-term financing sources while building the costs into the general fund tax levy. With the approval of the enacted state budget prior to the vote, the district modified its revenue assumptions to fully utilize the increase in Foundation as the permanent financing source for full-day kindergarten. This meets educational performance objectives (ii) through (v) listed in the enacted budget. Public input was sought during the Budget Hearing on May 11, 2021.
As the State honors its commitment to fully fund Foundation Aid over the next three years, the District will engage school stakeholders to adopt broader strategic plans for how the funds will be used to address student performance in 2022-23 and 2023-24.
Community Approves 2021-22 School Budget and Propositions
Residents of the Brighton Central School District approved an $87,686,048 budget for the 2021-22 school year by a vote of 1,774 to 393. The budget received an 81.9% percent “yes” vote. The projected tax levy increase for 2021-22 is 2.85%. This is the sixth highest passage rate in District history.
One proposition was also on the ballot. The proposal, approved 1,799 to 346, authorized the District to undertake a capital improvement project in the amount of $5,100,000. The proposition also authorizes the withdrawal of $1,500,000 from the Capital Reserve to pay the local share of the project and allows the District to leverage State Building Aid by financing the remainder totaling $3,600,000. The scope of the project includes classroom renovations, locker room renovations and site work improvements at Brighton High School, HVAC upgrades and renovations to the pool area, replacement of pool filtration systems, upgrades to stadium lights, and roof replacement at Twelve Corners Middle School.
“We’re tremendously appreciative of the support of our community,” Superintendent Dr. Kevin McGowan said. “We will continue to be thoughtful stewards of taxpayer resources while doing our best to efficiently provide the best possible program for the children of our community. Thank you for your support.”
Voters also elected two board members to the Board of Education: Christina Lee and Esther Winter. Lee received 1,532 votes, Winter received 1,212 votes, Christopher Ross received 817 votes, Robert Bonfiglio received 280 votes, and Avram Berman received 266 votes.
“Congratulations to Christina Lee and Esther Winter,” Dr. McGowan said. “Christina has been an excellent member of the Board of Education for the past three years and will have the opportunity to continue her thoughtful and impassioned work as a policymaker. Esther is a dedicated volunteer in the District and community leader in the arts. She will be a tremendous asset on the Board as well. We are looking forward to her voice and perspective in our work together. It would be remiss of me to not take another opportunity to thank our outgoing Board President Mark Kokanovich for his incredible leadership and support during his 15 years as a member of the Board. We will be forever impacted by his relentless advocacy on behalf of public education and his unyielding dedication to the children, families, staff members, and community of Brighton.”